Friday, June 29, 2012

15th Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday was our 15th wedding anniversary.  It is really hard to believe that 15 years have passed since Kevin and I made our vows to one another in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

  We were able to sneak off to lunch together.  In this picture, Kevin is strategically placed to conceal Daniel, who came along.  He slept through lunch as he sleeps through many things!

  Kevin took off the afternoon so we got some more time together.  We also both got naps, though mine was shorter than I liked what with one thing and another. But any nap is a good nap these days!

  Kevin told me of a rather bizarre comment from a coworker.  Kevin told this woman that we were celebrating our 15th anniversary, and she responded with, "Well, it's never too late to get divorced!"

  That ranks up there in terms of non enthusiastic comments, but we used it as a springboard for a good conversation at lunch.  She is of course right -- many people divorce after 15 years of marriage.  The big point for us is that we need to keep working on our marriage. Like most families in our country, we are super busy. I don't work full time so we aren't dealing with the whole "2 couple, 2 full time job" challenge, but we have a large family and they require a great deal of energy and commitment. And we homeschool as well, which takes significant time, money, and energy as well.

  It has been said that the best thing a father can do for his children is to love his wife.  I actually disagree with that; I would say the best thing a father can do for his children is to love the Lord most of all, and his wife second.  But still, the point is that our children thrive when our marriage is strong and healthy.  It is tempting at times to let the marriage "slide" and assume we'll be Ok if we don't spend time together.  And sometimes (like after we have a baby) we are in survival mode and we don't spend as much time together. But as Kevin said, we need to get back to "normal" as soon as possible, with normal being a deliberate choice to make time for one another frequently.

  Last year, we had a regular sitter on Saturday  nights and went out on a date most Saturdays. We have a new sitter lined up for later this year, and we're excited.  Tomorrow night we will have our first date since Daniel was born.  Well, I should say, our first date where we don't bring him along as we've had several lunch dates. I've been pumping milk and introducing him to a bottle so he can manage without me for a few hours.

Not all couples want to get away from the kids for a date and I'm not saying it is a necessity to "go on dates".  Not all couples can afford babysitters, for that matter!  But I do believe every couple should make their marriage a high priority.  We can't afford to let our marital relationship slide to the bottom of the priority heap.


  One very last thing -- it was CRAZY hot yesterday. First 100 degree day in a LONG time.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Reality Check

A friend brought dinner last night (very yummy burritos!) and we were comparing notes on having a new baby.  She has a 3 month old and has 7 children totoal, we have a 1 month old and 8 kids total.  Yes, she is amazing to be bringing me dinner!

I was telling my friend that life is rather hard right now.  She agreed.  New babies are very stressful.  I make a point on my blog of talking about what a blessing the children are.  They ARE.  They are wonderful gifts from the Lord.  And I am aware of how blessed we are to have a healthy little baby boy when I'm an "older mama" of 42.  We have a friend whose daughter in law is pregnant with a baby who has been diagnosed with Trisomy 13.  It is usually fatal before birth, and the ones who survive birth almost all die by their first birthdays.

So yes, we know that Daniel and all the children are gifts from above.  But still,  it is hard not having enough sleep, and recovering from a roughish C-section, and dealing with massive hormonal changes.  I am guessing some people look at us with 8 kids and think we have this "baby" thing down pat.  Well, we don't.  It is still a struggle for us to act in a godly way towards others, especially other family members.  We are still tempted to be grumpy and irritable.

A few days ago, our 6 yo daughter Miriam asked me, "Mom, why didn't God make it so babies will sleep through the night when they are born?"  Good question. The answer I came up with is that God uses babies to help us become less selfish.  We have to sacrifice a lot being parents. Each stage is wonderful, each stage is challenging.  A newborn doesn't talk back and doesn't sin openly and doesn't hit his siblings.  But a newborn needs lots of care day and night, and cries a lot, and is very needy.  That's Ok.  God uses this testing to help me flush out my own selfishness that tempts me to focus on my own wants.

So say a prayer for us if you would, that Kevin and I would communicate well, that we would be wise about what we try to accomplish right now, that we would remember that "this too shall pass".  I said a few days ago that Daniel slept 7 hours one night. Well, that hasn't happened since, and that is Ok, but I'm still hopeful he'll be sleeping through the night by 2 or 3 months.  We'll see.  At any rate, we will someday go back to a life where we get enough unbroken sleep, praise God :-).

Monday, June 18, 2012

Poor Chickens

Well, we have a predator!  We've been fortunate so far in that we've only had one predator before...that was the neighbor dog that killed the first flock we purchased, all of them.

In the last 2 days, 3 chickens have been found dead in the chicken yard. Something is getting in to them as 2 were...chewed on.  So, we have a problem.  We'll start shutting the chickens in at night and Kevin will try reinforcing the fence.

In other poultry news, Kevin and 2 kids caught one of the neighbors guinea fowl last night and returned it to its coop.

Almost SEVEN hours!!

I kid you not, this handsome little fellow slept almost 7 hours straight last night!  He isn't even a month old yet!  The night before he slept 6.5 hours.  I think we may have a really good sleeper on our hands.

By the way, my parents tell me that when they brought me home from the hospital, I slept 12 hours straight every night and ate every hour during the day.  So the genetics are there for good sleepers :-).


Yesterday we got an incredible amount of rain. In addition to a veritable river in our yard, we saw a glorious rainbow.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Guinea Adventure

We had a humorous adventure yesterday.  Our neighbors are a very nice couple with 3 young children. A few weeks ago, they acquired a chicken and 3 young guinea fowl. We are not certain of the genders of any of their poultry.

Yesterday morning, there was a LOUD racket outside. Some animal, bird, or insect was making an incredible amount of noise.  I was busy with kids so didn't investigate, but Lydia did.  And she found this fine fellow (or lady) perched in a tree near our fence.

This, my friends, is a young guinea fowl.  It was perched in a tree near our fence, as I said, but one yard over from where it should have been. 

SoI called our neighbor.  His first words were unintentionally humorous.  I asked him if he had lost one of his guinea fowl and he said, "Oh, its still alive?"


He explained that the previous night, all 3 of his young birds were perched on some tall apparatus in his yard (maybe the swing set?) and he decided to let them stay out the night instead of putting them in their coop.  This morning, they were missing and feathers were on the ground, so he thought they had been eaten.

I said no, that at least one was still alive and in a tree.

Then I turned around and saw another one scurrying around in our yard!

The neighbor wasn't home, but I said if we could catch them we would put them back in the coop.

Well, we didn't, but not for lack of trying. I didn't chase them around, but our big kids did. The one in our yard was successfully chased into its own yard, but then the neighbor's dog went after it and it flew off.  Naomi and Lydia went into the neighbor's yard and almost had it cornered but then Joseph (who was trying to be helpful) came over as well and scared it into the next yard. Things degenerated after that with various children feeling hurt, angry, upset, or some combination thereof. 

Lydia tried to catch the guinea in the tree at some point, but it flew to a higher branch.

This morning I am fairly certain I heard the same weird call so I think at least one is still out and alive.

And that's all we know for now.

P.S.  I am labeling this post under chickens through really, they are guineas.  But they are poultry.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Five and a Half Hours

Our little guy slept 5 and a half hours in a row last night!

It was rather a rocky evening in some ways as I napped with Daniel on the couch for an hour or more, and when he woke up to eat at 10:30 p.m. he was bright eyed and bushy tailed, and NOT inclined to sleep. I fed him again just before midnight and then he conked out until 5:30 a.m.  That's the longest I've slept in months, and at the moment I feel quite rested!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Our Three Boys

It is amazing how little a newborn is.  I know Daniel will grow fast but right now he looks SO small.  I think he looks very cute in his little frog outfit.  And our big boys look tall, handsome, and quite grown up!


Lydia found this nice toad a few days ago. She played with it gently for a bit, then let it go.

21 Egg Salute

I know I've neglected blogging about the chickens. Really, there isn't much to say.  They are healthy. They are pumping out eggs.  They aren't dying like flies exposed to insecticide.  It is just a little TOO EASY!  Given that the last batch of chickens were sick and not producing eggs, we are truly appreciative of this flock.

Yesterday, they gave us a 21 egg salute...yep, EVERY single chicken laid an egg.  The eggs have been piling up like crazy. We eat a lot of eggs, but not 20 a day!

Yesterday, Kevin sold 3 dozen eggs to friends at work. Today, another friend stopped by and bought 4 dozen more.  This is the "before" picture, where I had the eggs laid out nicely on our counter.  I didn't have the heart or inclination to take an "after" picture, which consisted of 4 dozen eggs ON the counter, and one dozen eggs splattered all over the floor thanks to the questing fingers and poor judgement of our toddler.  That's the 3rd time in 4 days we've needed to wash the kitchen floor due to a massive mess made by a kid. 

At the moment, we have all of about 3 eggs to our least 3 eggs in the house.  But they will be stacking up in the nesting boxes, we know that!

We're very pleased with our chickens right now.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


The last 2 nights have gone quite well. Daniel needs to eat at night, of course, but he is going back to sleep quite well after each feeding. I am working to keep him up at least some during the day.  I change his diaper, give him baths, put him on the floor, etc.  His natural inclination is to sleep a lot, but I try to have him awake for at least some time after every 2nd feeding session.

He has also fallen asleep on his own a few times, which is major progress.  As I said in a previous post, I encourage our babies to learn to fall asleep without being rocked or nursed.

I think it is safe to say we've had 8 fairly "easy" babies. I've never had a baby with colic.  Yes, they usually have a cranky period in the evening, but none of that "cry for hours every day" thing has happened to us.

And oh, I am thankful!  It isn't any particular reflection on us and our parenting, just the grace of God. I was talking to one of our pastors at the hospital (he came to visit) and he said his eldest was very colicky. Every second night, he would be up most of the night walking her up and down.  He said he was so tired he would almost fall asleep while walking.

I suppose that kind of thing builds character.  3 nights ago, Daniel was up much of the night, as he just didn't want to sleep!  If I held him, he was happy, but he wasn't wanting to sleep. It was hard.  I only got 3 hours of sleep that night and it was difficult to be cheery and patient with life the next day. 

Of course, the Spirit will help us do what we must. Even with Daniel sleeping fairly well, I am really tired. I had a C-section with complications (the bladder problem) and my body needs time to heal. Kevin is, as usual, being a wonderful support. He keeps encouraging me to rest when I can, and I'm taking a couple of naps a day.

By the way, the catheter came out on Friday and I am doing great. All the plumbing is working properly. I have to chuckle a little...I didn't know to be grateful about a simple thing like using the bathroom normally until I was stuck with a catheter for over a week!  I am still feeling very happy and mobile without the catheter.

I pray often for patience and wisdom during these days to know what I should try to do and what I should leave for another day or week or month!

Ok, here are a few recent pictures...

We got a new stove. The old one kept having trouble with burners.  It looks so nice, for now anyway!

Lydia and Daniel

Sleepy boy...

Sarah LOVES spaghetti!

Sarah and Daniel.  Daniel does well in his seat but I have to keep a close eye on him. Sarah loves him, but can be unintentionally rough.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

What's There to Say?

I'm tired.

Very tired.

Daniel is cute.

Very cute.

Last night he was up and fussing 'til 3 a.m.

I am REALLY tired today.

But God is good and He will give me strength to do what I need to do.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Few Pictures

Naomi made these origami flowers for me.  Aren't they amazing??