It seems I've forgotten to mention

...that our financial issues with Jonathan starting his new job have been taken care of. God has truly provided for us!! We were blessed with good friends who helped us out (even 1 couple who helped us out anonymously) and then with the unexpected arrival of the buyout from Jonathan's pension plan at his old job. While we did put in for it the last week of November, we were expecting several weeks before we rec'd that but, thankfully, that wasn't the case.

Thanks to all who have prayed for us both financially and for Timothy. We truly appreciate it and we thank God for the answered prayers regarding both situations. Timothy's pediatrician was pleased this morning with his progress and seems to think the worst is truly behind us. He also encouraged us to keep Timothy's hearing test appointment Wednesday at 2:30. He did not seem to think that the RSV would affect the test results.


Timothy update

We're not out of the woods yet but we are very thankful that Timothy is well enough to be at home. We brought him home around 5 o'clock this evening. His breathing is still erratic (he's still having the apnea episodes where he holds his breath) but his congestion is better. Please continue to pray for his healing, that the RSV will clear up completely and quickly (yes, a more thorough test did indicate that he does have RSV after all), and that his apnea spells will go away and the sooner the better. He goes for a follow-up with his actual pediatrician on Monday (and also has his hearing test on Wednesday). My parents made it safely but my Dad is returning tomorrow in order to be home by Sunday services. My Mom will be flying home on Tuesday the 8th.


Prayers for Timothy

Merry Christmas to all! I wish I could give that greeting with a happy heart but we are in the midst of another set back with Timothy today. He is back in Children's Hospital with a very severe virus (cold/flu like symptoms) and is having apnea (where he stops breathing temporarily) and "brady" symptoms (where his heart rate drops when he's not breathing). So far, he's actually stable even though he's a little worse today than he was yesterday and will probably get a little worse as these viruses usually "peak" around day 5 and we're on day 3. He's also on oxygen but is on the smallest amount they can give him which is good news. It is also good news that this is not RSV, a particularly dangerous virus that is very serious in newborns, especially one born early. We can't bring him home until he's off oxygen for an overnight period or about 8-10 hours. They've tried weaning him off the oxygen several times but it just isn't working yet. We're probably in for a 3-4 day stay, possibly more depending on his oxygen demands. We're praying that he doesn't get worse and that he continues to eat well which is keeping him away from an IV thus far. They also checked his bilirubin/jaundice level and we're very happy to report that his level is completely normal now.

Please be in prayer for my parents who will be traveling from South Carolina tomorrow to help us take care of everything. My Mom was planning on flying in on Saturday for a visit but that's all changed since we need her here now. Also, pray for our other kids as Nathan has already made comments about wanting life to go back to normal (although Christmas presents helped ease that!) and all 4 of them are fighting cold symptoms of some degree. With the exception of John who was actually at the doctor's office with Timothy and has an ear infection, everyone else really seems to be handling the virus pretty well.

Have a Jesus filled Christmas and thanks for praying!


Gingerbread houses

Yesterday, best-friend-extraordinaire, Kisha, brought over all the stuff to make gingerbread houses (or at least a graham cracker version) with the kids. There was sooooo much candy here. Can almost make you sick just thinking about the candy that was here. Pretty neat idea and a very easy project to do. We used orange juice/milk cartons and icing to stick them to cake boards. Then we covered the cartons in graham crackers and decorated with different kinds of candies. Here's the finished products. Nathan's Caleb's Elizabeth's John's and Mine
(minus a few jumbo marshmallows and candy canes thanks to a rugrat of mine)
Lots of fun! Thanks, Kisha!

A new era has dawned

After 3 years, the old couch had to go. (It was used when we got it, by the way.) I don't know -- what do you think? Think it was time?? =) Here's the kids going for a ride as the couch was being moved. Here's the new one still wrapped up in plastic, sitting pretty in the garage. You kinda want to leave it sitting there or at least leave it wrapped in plastic, knowing the abuse 5 children will probably do to it. Anyway, we're glad to have a new couch that's not embarrassing to look at! This is Elizabeth laying on it this morning. She's feeling pretty sick today and has been on the couch all morning. Don't you just hate it when they're sick??


The kids in their Christmas colors





and Timothy

Some new pics

First off, I was trying to post this pic of the family on the top here as our header. I messed that up so Jonathan will have to fix it. In the meantime, here it is: We were originally going to post this picture with the title "Our baby's so bright, he glows" but we got a little distracted with the hospital thing. Still pretty funny, don't you think? Wish you could have seen it with his gown down -- it really did look like he glowed! Here's one with Timothy in one of my favorite shirts. Saw it at Target and wanted to buy it but didn't and got it as a shower gift from the Prince family. Thank you, Prince's! Also, while thanking, we've gotten a lot of great meals from our church friends. We feel very blessed! A special shout out to Sarah from the kids for the cute cookies! Thanks, Rolston family!


Good report

Timothy's jaundice level is down within the normal range. He is off the light blanket and they will not be doing any more blood tests. He is scheduled for his hearing evaluation on 1/2/08. Please continue to pray.


Timothy update

He's home. Jaundice is down to a decent level but they have us keeping him on the light blanket at home until his level is down to normal. He'll have a blood draw today at 12:30 to see where we're at. He did really well in the hospital and has doubled the amount he was eating from 1 oz to 2 since we got home which, of course, is great. They did a repeat hearing test in the hospital and while the results showed that there was some response in both ears, it was not considered a passing result. Again and again we have been told that this is probably just fluid and will go away in the coming days/weeks and that we shouldn't worry. I haven't scheduled the appt yet but they will be doing a more in depth hearing test soon that will tell us if there is any hearing loss, how much (a percentage) in each ear (if any), and whether or not it's related to fluid.

It's good to be home with my kids. I think all the adrenaline pumping through my system since Thursday is starting to wear out a little. I still feel pretty good but feeling run down today. Otherwise, recovery seems to be going okay.


Praise report for Bauer family/Update on Timothy

Candace's blood pressure is all cured!! =) Seriously -- she was doing very well but I guess she felt a little left out and decided to have a baby! Justin was welcomed into the world this morning around 3 weighing 5 pounds, 10 ounces. Congratulations to the Bauer family!

Timothy and I are home. It's been a very rough couple of days, mentally/emotionally more than physically. I'm feeling okay -- a little "worse" (for lack of a better word) than after my other deliveries but they say it gets harder after having a few. And I'm by no means laid up -- I feel pretty good, just not great, not like I'm used to feeling after a delivery. Timothy is suffering from some issues from being early. He has a kind of tremors (NOT seizures and certainly not serious) from being premature. They'll go away as he gets older. He also has a few bruises and seeing as how he didn't have a "traumatic" birth, the doctors got a little panicky (sp?) over that and ran tests which was extremely nerve-wracking. One test isn't completely done yet but the others are all normal which is a good sign and our pediatrician fully expects the bruises to go away by the time he sees him again next week. Because he's bruised and we're not sure why, they did not circumcise him in the hospital so we'll have to have that done as an outpatient. Our pediatrician said we had to wait until the bruises were completely gone and all tests were back. Then, our car seat "failed" a test (they test preemies to make sure they fit in their car seats without breathing issues) because it's too old so we ended up having to get a new one from the hospital. His bilirubin level is high today. That's what they check for in the blood that tells them whether or not a baby is getting jaundice. We're waiting on the home nurse to stop by and give us a special blanket to keep him in to help with that and he'll have to have several blood tests over the next few days to monitor him progress. We're also anxiously awaiting an appointment with an audiologist. They believe Timothy has a fluid build up in his ears (common for preemies, they say) because he failed his hearing test. No guarantees that fluid is all that it is but they kept telling me to not worry about it, that these things happen and usually work themselves out. Combine all that with a lack of sleep (hate those hospital beds!) and emotionally, I'm feeling pretty spent. Oh, and Jonathan's great-aunt Patty passed away on Friday. After the home nurse leaves, we're going to go visit with some family from Indiana who we rarely get to see that are here for the funeral. Still, we have a lot to be thankful for -- we made it farther with Timothy than we did with John, Timothy was not too small and not too big so I was able to deliver without any complications, and we made it to the hospital! I was seriously terrified of not making it to the hospital in time so I'm very thankful for that!! And, Timothy came the day in between the 2 snows!! Wednesday was certainly worse than yesterday so we're thankful he came on Thursday! Nice timing, huh? =)

Many thanks to all who have been praying for us and we ask you to continue as we go through these next couple of weeks adjusting and having more tests ran. Hopefully, we'll have all good news by Christmas!


Timothy Pictures

Here he is. Who does he look like? Please leave a comment.

How can a hand start so small.
Proud mom

Grandma and Caleb take a closer look. I hope they let us keep him!? Or will he be voted off the island. Stay tuned
Papaw Fred
Big brother Nathan likes holding his little brother.

One very excited Caleb.
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Timothy Paul Stevens

Timothy Paul Stevens was born at 12/6/2007 at 10:50 am. He was 7 lb 5 oz and 19.5 in long. Karen and Timothy are doing great. I will get you all a picture soon. Can you believe I forgot the digital camera. OY!

Many thanks to good friend Kisha and my parents for helping with child care.



Prayers for Candace

Our good friend, Candace, who's pregnant and due very soon is on bedrest due to high blood pressure. She has an 18-month-old son who she delivered at home and was planning on delivering this baby at home as well. If her BP doesn't go down and stay down, she'll have to deliver in the hospital. Pray for Candace, that her BP will come down to keep her well and keep her pregnant until the appointed time, and for all her "helpers" -- her husband, Matt, her Mom, and her Grandmother. Candace and her husband and her Mom and StepDad have been very good friends of ours for many years. They are truly a blessing to the Stevens' family!!



Our "unique" child. Everything about John seems to break the mold. Elizabeth was only 4 months old when we found out we were pregnant with John. Quite the shock to think that 2 of your kids are only going to be 13 months apart. John's due date was scheduled for 6-25-05. But, if you know us very well, you know he got into a big hurry. It was a Thursday morning and I was preparing to drop Nathan, Caleb, & Elizabeth off at a friend's house and go in for the first of my twice a week non-stress tests (a test commonly run on diabetic mommies that monitors the baby's movement and heartbeat for about 20 minutes but that also monitors to see if there's any "uterine activity"). I was watching the Today show before waking up the kids when they made a comment about it being Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) and I saw the date at the bottom of the screen -- 5/5/05 -- and I thought how clever of a birthday that would be but moaned that I wasn't that lukcy. I had been in a lot of pain (the same left-side/rib cage pain I've had with this pregnancy although constant and much, much worse) so I was already saying that I didn't know how I was going to make it through 8 more weeks (7 weeks, 3 days to be exact). So I get the kids off to Kisha's and get to the clinic about 9, if I remember correctly. As they were hooking me up to the monitor, I realized I had a contraction but didn't think anything of it 'cause contractions are common at that point of pregnancy. However, once that contraction started, I spent the next 30 minutes or so with contractions every 5 minutes on the monitor. The doctor was very upset when he discovered that I was already dilated to 4. They immediately sent me upstairs to the triage unit. They started pumping me full of fluids (dehydration can cause contractions), antibiotics (certain infections have been known to cause preterm labor and I hadn't yet had a Group B Strep Test that they commonly do around 37 weeks so the antibiotics were "just in case"), magnesium sulfate which is a drug used to treat preterm labor (and high blood pressure) that works by relaxing the muscles (i.e. the uterus), and stadol which is a pain killer they were hoping would calm me down and allow me to rest to help stop the contractions. They also gave me an injection of betamethasone (which I've had with Timothy already) that helps mature the babies lungs. It was supposed to be the 1st of 2 doses, 24 hours apart. This was slightly before noon. The contractions slowed down but never stopped. By 1, I had passed the 5 cm. Even with the mag sulfate on as high as they can give it to you (it can cause your lungs to "relax" which can cause you to stop breathing), by 5 or so, I was already at 6-7 cm. We moved to a labor and delivery room to see what would happen when they stopped the meds. That was a little before 6 and our 6 lb, 3 oz "preemie" arrived a little over an hour later. It was crazy. We knew even the 1 dose of betamethasone worked because we were actually able to hold John for a few minutes as he was breathing okay on his own. About midnight, we finally got to meet with the neonatal doctor who told us that John was having trouble breathing so they had put him on CPAP which is prongs in the nose that blows air into the nose to keep the lungs inflated. He was weaned off of that before I was discharged from the hospital (the only time I stayed the full 2 days!) but had developed jaundice so was under the bilirubin lights. He was under those for a few days and then would have been fine to have come home if he hadn't been so lazy! He wasn't very interested in nursing or eating from a bottle and was on a feeding tube. It took several days before he got with the program and we brought him him exactly 2 weeks after he was born, 1 day after Elizabeth's first birthday! John kept breaking the rules after we got him home -- he was a VERY light sleeper and wouldn't sleep very well in our room so he spent the first few months of his life in either the swing (should have taken out stock in those D batteries!) or in the bouncy in the living room. He was also the first Stevens child to not sleep through the night very early. The other 3 slept through the night at 5-6 weeks old -- I forget how old John was but he was several months old. He's a very "sensitive" child (lest I use the "cry baby" term), very easy to offend. He's also clingy to me & Jonathan which the others weren't. There are times when we like that but then there are other times....He was also the only one we had to break from a pacifier. Nathan & Elizabeth would take them but were not stuck on them and Caleb definatley preferred one but we kept loosing them so he was "broke" fairly easy. But, John is the closest we've come (so far) to a redhead. It was a lot more red when he was born. He's also a very "polite" child -- very quick to say "thank you" for a drink or dinner or whatever. Isnt' it funny -- our kids have come in a "pattern". Nathan -- burnette (although born blonde), didn't care for the pacifier; Caleb -- blond, had to have the pacifier; Elizabeth -- burnette (almost black at birth), didn't care for the pacifier; John -- red now blond and had to have the pacifier. So, if the pattern continues, we're "due" a burnette who doesn't like the paci (although I'm still hoping for a redhead). Guess we'll have to wait and see! Here's John in pictures! My Mom's camera takes such good pictures, he almost doesn't look like the same child in this picture. And finally -- meet my super hero!!! =)

We interupt your regularly scheduled program....

...for these prayer requests.

First, we found out Thursday and yesterday that the way Jonathan starts his new job on Monday, we're going to have to do without 1 paycheck in December. Meaning instead of 2, we're only going to get 1 full check and not until 12/21. We are going to get a partial check on 12/7 for the 4 unused vacation days that Jonathan didn't take at his former job. All our bills will be covered but everything else (gas, groceries, what little Christmas shopping we needed to finish) is a big question. (I'm trying not to panic....Jonathan's doing a much better job than I am!) We know our needs will be met but I struggle with trusting and letting go in that.

On to something cute but serious....Something is going on with Nathan. In all sincerity, we believe the Holy Spirit is working on his heart. He's been "confessing" to an awful lot lately. It's been rough around here with the last few weeks of pregnancy and we do wonder if he's also trying to get our attention (or suffering from cabin fever -- the rains we had the other day flooded our yard so they couldn't play outside and by the time it dried up, it got too cold for them to be outside; not to mention that I'm certainly gone a lot with dr's appointments and they pretty much only get out and about for church). He's also reached a point now where he's pretty capable of getting around the computer pretty good (yikes!) and has been grounded off and on lately either from his Nintendo DS (for leaving it outside one day) and/or from the computer -- first, he had gone to a website (Cartoon Network) without permission and tried to "register" to play with his new email address (AND his Dad's which, thankfully, he had typed wrong). That was his first confession which led to him being grounded from the computer. Then, Thursday, he kept pacing the floor telling us his tummy hurt and the next thing you know, he's spilling the beans. He had gotten on the computer after we had told him not to. We had several "confessions" that night and really, as any parent would be, we're actually quite proud of him for coming forward. Otherwise, we seriously might have never known. Part of his punishment was an extension of his grounding from the computer. Then, yesterday, he came to us right before dinner and started all over again -- this time he said he had gotten on the computer and that he just couldn't help himself 'cause he had seen an ad for a Playhouse Disney website he wanted to go to (we've since then put a password protection on both the laptop and the PC). Jonathan began talking to him and explaining that even though we're grown-ups and Christians, we still struggle with temptation. (Nathan then said that he had another confession -- he had been doing things to Caleb, like taking his toys, just to annoy him because he thought it was fun! How sweet is that?!?) Nathan said something about having tried to ask Jesus into his heart but he just didn't know how. Jonathan assured him he would help him pray but Nathan said he needed some time to think about it. While brushing teeth last night before bed, Nathan came up to me with a note and on it that said "There's something I want to talk to you about. Ask me about it on Monday." and then on the back (it was on an index card), he had written "It's what we talked about at dinner. Do you know what I'm talking about?" I got so cracked up at the "ask me about it on Monday" comment -- too funny! While it's cute, we're serious when we ask you to pray for Nathan and for Jonathan & I in the next couple of days.

On a much lighter note, I had a great time at the baby shower our church family threw for me on Thursday night. Many, many thanks to all who were there! Nathan says we might not have to buy baby wipes for the next year! =) I'll post more about that (with some "beautiful" hand drawn pictures!) and publish our post on John soon! Have a great weekend, ya'll!



Ah, Elizabeth, our "rose among the thorns" (that's what my Mom called her when we found out we were having another boy). Boy, there are days when I'm glad the Lord has decided to bless us with another son and not another daughter! Some days, she's the thorn, not the rose!! =) She's definitely strong-willed and most days, her favorite word is "no" although she seems to have no idea what that word means when we say it to her! Then, there are other days when she's just as sweet as she can be and I think we may have to try for another girl one of these days. But that's for another blog....Anyway, people often say she's either very lucky ("All those boys to protect her") or that they pity her ("All alone in that house full of boys"). Let me tell you -- she's neither! SHE will more than likely be the one to do the protecting -- she's tough! -- and she's certainly not hurting in this house full of boys -- she can hold her own! Spanking her is very interesting -- the same strength of swat that will reduce ALL the boys into absolute puddles will -- and I'm not joking here -- often leave her in giggles! It often takes several swats to get the point across. I'm telling you -- she's an interesting little character! But, isn't she cute?!? Everyone has always loved her curls and I felt really, really bad when I thought I cut them off several weeks ago. Her hair was growing so uneven in the back that she had a "tail" of curls right in the middle and when you pulled it out full length, it went all the way down her back! She was really uneven and so I decided to help her out. Little did I realize just how much I was cutting off (her hair was wet). But, it's starting to grow out and while I kinda doubt it'll ever be as curly as it was before (which makes me really sad), there are some curls coming back in. Elizabeth isn't turning out to be the tom boy I feared she'd be when she was born to 2 brothers and when John followed her just 11 short months later. Thankfully, at least to me, she's very much into dresses, shoes (especially mine!), playing "house" (which Caleb & John are happy to engage in right along with her!), and playing with her baby dolls. And she loves anything pink or purple. Still, she also loves any puddle of water (or mud) and was extremely disappointed when she didn't get to play soccer with her older brothers this fall. She'll be old enough to play next year and we intend to put her in. And, boy, does she love to help with anything you're doing, especially in the kitchen. We try to oblige her as much as we can but there are just some things she can't do and just some days when getting to prepare dinner is your only "alone" time for the day and you'd prefer no one to be under foot. Those are the moments when she seems to have no idea what we mean when we tell her "no" or to go play in another room. She just gets her step stool and forces herself right there beside you. I pray for the grace to let her help me and it burdens my heart to be responsible for the raising of a daughter. Today's society is just getting unbelievable at telling our young girls it's own definition of what beautiful is or what successful is. I want to raise her to see herself the way her Creator sees her, to yearn to be a Proverbs 31 or Titus 2 wife and mother, and, if she chooses to have a career outside of the home, to not put that career before her husband and children. I went to college for almost 4 years but didn't finish because Jonathan & I got married and 4 months later, we got pregnant with Nathan. I was an education major -- wanted to teach English (in particular, literature) to high school or college students. Do I regret not finishing school? Nope. I do regret, however, not finding a way to stay at home full time from the moment Nathan was born. There's no higher calling for a woman than to be someone's wife and someone's mother. But that's another rabbit chase....I'm looking forward to the Mom/Daughter things Elizabeth and I can do together in years to come. And, Lord willing, one day, I'll have daughters-in-law to add to that! Pretty exciting to think about (especially when I seem to be stuck in the diaper phase of parenting!) Pictures -- Elizabeth pre-haircut; she likes spaghetti, can you tell??; and one post-haircut.



All my children make me laugh in different ways....for instance, Nathan (yes, I know, already blogged about him) wants pudding SO BAD. We had said at dinner that we would watch "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" tonight before bed and that we would make some (instant) pudding to go with it. We decided we really needed to clean the living room and kitchen and that a movie wasn't necessarily a good idea unless we agreed to watch it without Jonathan who was going to do the cleaning. So then we said if they helped us clean up, we'd go ahead with the movie. We got the living room done and were moving on to the kitchen when Jonathan said "Nathan really thought that by helping clean up the living room, he'd get to watch the movie, so let's put in the movie". While starting the movie, he asks his Dad for the umpteenth time if he could make the pudding. Jonathan replied that he wanted to clean up the kitchen first. So, what does Nathan do? Does he sit back to watch the movie that he told us he really wanted to watch??? NO -- he VOLUNTEERS to help clean the kitchen. Obviously watching the movie was only a vehicle to the pudding. So, I'm sitting here on the couch with the little 3 watching the movie that Nathan wanted to watch without him because he's cleaning the kitchen with Dad! How hilarious is that??? Anyway, on to Caleb. He really likes this movie. Did you know he's going to be 5 next Sunday, the 2nd?? He was a "surprise" in lots of ways -- it took a long time to get pregnant with him (we began "trying" when Nathan was less than a year old and he was just a few months shy of turning 3 when I found out I was pregnant -- see, it's not really in our control!!) and then he ended up being due on Thanksgiving Day 2002 -- a time of the year I would not have picked had I had the option. The timing was also "bad" because I found out I was pregnant just days after my brother announced his engagement and his December 14th wedding. Caleb came late -- the Monday after Thanksgiving. Mom & Dad had been to visit for the holiday thinking they would be here for the delivery. When Thanksgiving Day came and went, they decided to go home for the weekend so Dad wouldn't miss a Sunday (they lived in Illinois at the time and the church Dad was preaching at didn't really allow him to miss). So, they packed up with 3-year-old Nathan on the weekend after Thanksgiving. I went to the doctor on Monday morning and they said that since I was overdue I could pick a day that week to be induced. Since Jonathan had been in the ER the weekend before Thanksgiving ("Exactly which one are you here for?" the lady that checked him into the ER asked us when we arrived with me obviously VERY pregnant!) and was due to have a colonoscopy that Thursday so I picked Tuesday. Went home, took a nap, planned on getting some Christmas shopping that evening with Jonathan since we were childless while my parents were on the way home with Nathan. While at Lifeway, I started not feeling well and decided we should just head home instead of shopping. While stepping out of the van at home, I felt it -- my water broke. It was just minutes before 7. Couldn't reach Mom & Dad on the road so we changed our outgoing message to say something about going to the hospital. We were taking our time....stopped at Arby's so Jonathan could get some dinner before we went to the hospital (Nathan's labor had lasted 15 hours). Arrived at the hospital about 7:30. Begged for an epidural but couldn't get one because the doctor was in a C-section. By 8:30, things were getting unbearable and I was pretty upset that they wouldn't go get that doctor for the epidural. Then the nurse told me it didn't matter because I was too far to get one. During this whole time, my mother-in-law was finishing her night at work (getting off between 7:30 and 8) and was planning on getting there about 9 after getting a bite to eat and getting my father-in-law. They arrived around 9 to be told they couldn't go back because I was pushing. My parents arrived with Nathan not too long after that. But, since they wouldn't allow anyone back there, Caleb arrived with just me, Jonathan, 1 nurse, and 1 doctor in the room at 9:15 p.m. (Now do you see why I say I'm terrified of going into labor on my own this time? Caleb was the last one I went into labor with -- Elizabeth was induced and John, even though I went into labor on my own, they tried to stop it which ended up only slowing it down.) 5 years ago....Caleb's a treat. His first word was "ball" and he's still obsessed with balls/sports. At his 1-year check-up, we discovered he had an ear infection and, just in time for us to go spend an early Christmas in Indiana with family, we discovered (the hard way) that he was allergic to penicillin. He was a binkie baby, too, the only other one (so far) was, ironically, his "look-a-like", John. Nathan & Elizabeth would take them every now and then but didn't cry for them. He's a gentle soul -- easy to upset/make cry but thinks of others, too. Just tonight, while playing, he brought John a pair of pretend safety goggles from a pretend tool set because he knew that John liked them. While we were putting up the Christmas tree today, Nathan was decorating this little tree that he's put up in their room for the past couple of years. Nathan gave Caleb some small ornaments so he decided he'd put them on his "tree", the pretend shopping cart!! (Wish I would have gotten some pictures of that but I didn't....) He then also put some ornaments that didn't make the tree this year on the drawer knob pulls on the cabinets/drawers in the kitchen. Anytime there's a baby around, Caleb is the one to ooh and aah over it and usually says "Aah, he/she's so cute!" or "Look, I think he/she likes me!". Caleb likes to build things so he likes Lego's and he also likes to "help" anytime you do something that has a tool involved. For instance, when his Dad and his Papaw were laying our flooring in our living room earlier this year. Caleb donned the safety goggles and got out his hammer and stuff to "help". I think he may be the singer of the family, too. Tonight at dinner (which he didn't eat -- he's the pickiest eatier I've ever met and it drives me bonkers!), he was singing a made-up song "Everybody's pounding on something". But, get him to sing in public -- forget it. He gets all backwards and pretends to be shy. Ah, yes, never a dull day around when Caleb's here!! Here's a few recent pics of Caleb. First up, Caleb in one of my Mom's t-shirts; then, as an army guy at COSI; and last, a picture of him in his car seat with this yellow blanket (trust me, it used to be yellow, I promise!)



It's weird having an 8-year-old....especially Nathan! (And I mean that with all the love a mother can muster!) What can I tell you about Nathan? There are days when I swear he came out talking even though I know better. Still, he talked very early and very well (and that's not just MY opinion). He never stops talking and almost never stops pretending. He's our homeschooling guinea pig, obviously, but he never complains and truly seems to enjoy it. He's really good at math and loves science/technology type things. And even though he's a great reader and does really well with the spelling program we use, he would probably be more than happy if I allowed him to skip reading, spelling, and especially handwriting. He's happy as a lark right now because with being pregnant, his school has been scaled back to creative writing (always paired with an art project), reading, and KONOS (thanks to Mrs. Kisha for keeping that going when I'm not really able to put a lot of effort into it!). Art -- that's probably the biggie for him. Anything that has to do with art and crafts and he loves it all. That's what kinda sparked this post -- we just finished up the fall semester of a homeschool co-op we do and I wanted to show off some of his art projects (below). But I figured maybe I should do a post for each one of them. They all came from the same parents but, as any parent with more than one child knows, they may look similar but they're all very different. Caleb's post coming up so stay tuned! Anyway, back to Nathan -- he's all about friends, too. [RABBIT CHASE: Some people find it odd that Nathan's so social because we're homeschoolers. Some not-so-nice people even accuse homeschooling parents like us with children who are "social bugs" of being unkind (or even abusive) because we don't let them go to "real" school to have friends. Nathan's social abilities have NOT been hindered in ANY way by being homeschooled. For the record, we "co-homeschool" with Mrs. Kisha and her daughter, Fionna, so Nathan sees Fionna usually twice a week at least and, unless there's some other schedule conflict, they always get an opportunity to play before and/or after we do school. Then there's Matthew, the boy down the street that plays with Nathan every now and then after school. And don't forget his church friends and the 2 homeschool co-ops we are members of. He has friends in both co-ops and loves going. The beauty of homeschooling -- we can PICK his friends (how dare we do that? EASY!) and thereby keep an eye on his outside influences. There's been moments already where we've had to not allow him to have contact with Matthew up the street because things have gotten out of hand. It's our responsibility as his parents because having a lot of "friends" isn't always the best thing unless you take the time to make sure that those "friends" parents believe the way you do!! Rabbit chase done!] Now if we could just get Nathan to learn how to sit properly in a chair....but that's a whole other story! Nathan is awesome! Faults, yes, he has them but still, he's really a good boy!! You can check out his blog at http://nathanpix.blogspot.com/ As promised, here's a few pics of hhis co-op art projects. First up is his color wheel. Next is his self-portait (my fav -- don't you think that's great?!?). Last is his "name alien". You can't see it here but if you turn the drawing sideways, his name is written in mirror image on both sides. Very creative if you ask me. Good job, Nathan!

Good days

After the beginning of the week I had last week, I didn't think I'd ever reach a point again where I would be content to still be pregnant. I knew I didn't want Timothy to come early but I also knew I wanted to stop feeling miserable. I've got the best of both worlds almost. Since last Thursday, my pain has been minimal and tolerable. Last night was a little rough but NOTHING like I experienced last week. I'm so thankful God answered my prayers and the prayers of the many who I know were praying for me. I'm also so thankful that we're still chuggin' along with no signs that Timothy is coming any time soon. Now, don't get me wrong -- I'm still pregnant, still huge (although I had lost 2 pounds between my last 2 visits!), still tired, still hoping for an early baby but by "early", I mean a December baby, not a January one (and certainly not a November one!). Little stinker was uncooperative on the NST at first yesterday but finally got with the program. Now if I can just figure out when to go Christmas shopping. I don't really want to go now 'cause I get uncomfortable with a lot of activity (which is why I was hurting last night -- NST in the morning and then we had an appointment last night at 5:15 and took the kids to McDonald's). But, what if this baby makes it to 37 weeks? That means IF my dr would "cooperate" and agree to induce me (that's my little dream anyway 'cause I'm terrified of going into labor on my own), that'd be the week BEFORE Christmas and I'm not going to feel like shopping then after just having delivered....see my dilema? We've been working on getting ideas together before we go out to do the shopping to minimize the time in the store(s) but....Anyway, all told, things are feeling pretty darn good right now. And I couldn't be happier about that!! Thanks be to God!


32 weeks, 6 days

That's one day further than we made it with John! Praise be to God! Not only am I still pregnant, some pain that I was having earlier in the week that was excruciating to the point of putting me in bed has been minimal yesterday and today. I had this pian while pregnant with John and the drs say it is muscle stretching or muscle fatigue. They also say they can't do anything to help ease the pain. I'm just extremely thankful for the blessing of these past 2 days. God has also blessed us in another way. Yesterday, Jonathan was offered a new job doing website programming. Computer programming is what he's wanted to do all along and he has had the opportunity to do it in his current job just not very much. Most of his time has been devoted to technical support at his current position. Getting to do what he has wanted to do is great but we're still in awe at the salary offered to him. The amount he initially asked for would have meant an increase in pay for us but the company exceeded it by quite a bit. Not only will we be able to comfortably afford the extra gas (1.3 mile commute to a 23 mile commute) and grocery money we'll need because of his new position (he definately won't be able to make it home for lunch any more!), we'll also have money to put towards finally getting ourselves out of debt. We've hardly had any money focus on our debts in quite a while and, unfortunately, have quite a bit of medical bills from Elizabeth & John's pregnancies where I had bad insurance and John was in the NICU for 2 weeks. Time is running out for tonight -- gotta get the kids in bed for church tomorrow. I just wanted to post that we're still here, still pregnant, new job on the horizon, and amazed by God's protection and provision!


Something smells fishy

A catch up of what's been going on around here....

Funny story -- last week, on Monday, I went to go get a cookie sheet out of our kitchen island and thought something smelled funny. Didn't say anything or think too much about it. Well, by Wednesday, when I went to get something out again, the smell was drastically worse. I started avoiding opening the island and finally remembered to tell Jonathan on Thursday. He pulled everything out to see if there was something in the back and couldn't find anything. By Friday, you can't even imagine how bad the smell was so he started pulling things out one piece at a time. That's when he found it. The broiler pan had gotten put back into the island BEFORE it had been washed from the last time we used it. Can't remember what we had cooked on it last....Jonathan is the smelly-things-cleaner-upper around here (I can't stand strong smells even when I'm not pregnant but smells really set me off while I'm pregnant) but I could still hear him trying to get through cleaning it up. Oh well, at least we found it! =)

We've made it to 31 weeks....if we make it to full-term, that means we only have 9 weeks left. Yikes! Things still seem to be going okay, not great, but okay. Last check-up last week, I thought for sure they'd change my diabetes medication but they only said to take it at a different time during the day. I had put on a few pounds in the short 2 weeks since I had been there last and I know it's because I'm eating more and I'm eating more when my sugar drops, usually every afternoon. I'm trying to adjust so that I won't have another weight gain (at least not too big) between now and next Monday when I go back. My BP was still borderline when I was there so we're still just watching and waiting on that. They'll do another ultrasound on Monday so that'll tell us if things are changing that show we're headed toward preterm labor and tell us an estimate of how much the baby weighs which is a big worry of mine. John was born at 32 weeks, 5 days and weighed 6 pounds, 3 ounces but at the 28-week ultrasound, they had assured me his weight was normal. They said Timothy was just shy of 3 pounds at his 28 week ultrasound. I'll also start non-stress tests next Monday. Not that big a deal -- nothing painful by any means. They put 2 belts around you, one measuring the baby's heartbeat and one checking for contractions. What they want to see is 1) no contractions, 2) that the baby's heartbeat is between 120 and 160, the norm for babies, 3) that the baby is moving adequately (I push a little button that marks when I feel him move), and 4) that when he does move, his heart rate responds appropriately. Contractions would be a not-so-good thing for obvious reasons. If there's a problem with the heartbeat or if he's not moving often enough or if his heartbeat isn't responding right after the moves, then that's a sign the baby is in "distress", that he doesn't like his environment any more. I've never had a NST where they told me they thought the baby was in distress and I've had NST's with every pregnancy. However, it was at my first NST with John that they noticed I was contracting...that was 9 that morning and John was born at 7 that night -- and that's with heavy meds to try and stop labor. He'd probably have been born before noon if they hadn't at least succeeded in slowing things down! I'm a little nervous....I don't mind the NST's but they sure are a pain for other reasons. 1, the take so long (a minimum of 20 minutes, sometimes as long as an hour) and 2, they do them twice a week which means 2 times the gas to and from the hospital and 2 times the sitters for the kids. And, my one sitter has agreed to watch the kids on the Thursday/Friday appointments each week but she is just a little more pregnant than I am! She could deliver as early as Thanksgiving week but is due 12-15 or so! On the other baby fronts, we got the crib, swing, car seat, etc out of the attic and all clothes are washed and almost put away. Crib isn't together just yet but that's okay. Still have to wash the fabric parts of the swing, car seat, and bouncy seat and wash blankets. All I can say is they better not be wrong or this little girl will be wearing an awful lot of blue for a while! =)

Speaking of gas, I heard this morning that they expect gas prices to stay around $3 for a long time. They also said that gas is really close to $100/barrel and that if it reaches that mark, we can expect gas prices as high as $4/gal by next spring/summer. Isn't that nice?!?!

Well, let's see -- I don't think anything else has really changed much lately. The kids are okay although the little 3 are having a rough time with the weather changes. Their noses finally stopped running but in the mornings, they just sit here and cough. We did take them to church on Sunday night. Caleb & Elizabeth will perform some Christmas songs the evening of 12/9 and Nathan's choir will perform on 12/16. Homeschool co-op (Nathan's art class and Caleb's preschool class) only has 2 weeks left! I hate to say it but I'll be glad when they're done this time. It's been a bit tiring. School is okay -- not getting as much done as I'd like but that's okay. Flexibility is one of the benefits of homeschooling. We can catch up after this little guy gets here and the holidays are over. Nathan is into technology and wanting to learn about it so keep an eye out for the announcement that his own blog is up and running. We're still working on getting it set up right now. He's also excited to be emailing a few (chosen) people. I'm hoping that will help with spelling/grammar. I guess that's really about it. I'm sure there's more I could ramble on about but do you really want to read that??? =)

(PS -- since we signed Nathan up for a blog, when we log in, it shows both blogs; it changed all our posts to say Nathan posted them which, I'm sure, you can figure out he didn't do!)



Today is my parent's 35th wedding anniversary!! I think that deserves a round of applause, don't you?!?! *clapping loudly* It's so funny to think back, especially over the last ten years. They renewed their vows for their 25th anniversary and Jonathan & I were married that next June which means our 10th anniversary is coming up. Yikes! It just doesn't seem possible.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

I love you both!


Happy Reformation Day

Until recently, I didn't know this existed. Here's part of what Wikipedia has to say:

Reformation Day is a religious holiday celebrated on
October 31 in remembrance of the Reformation, particularly by Lutheran and some Reformed church communities....On this day in 1517, Martin Luther posted a proposal at the doors of a church in Wittenberg, Germany to debate the doctrine and practice of indulgences. This proposal is popularly known as the 95 Theses, which he nailed to the Castle Church doors. This was not an act of defiance or provocation as is sometimes thought. Since the Castle Church faced Wittenberg's main thoroughfare, the church door functioned as a public bulletin board and was therefore the logical place for posting important notices. Also, the theses were written in Latin, the language of the church, and not in the vernacular. Nonetheless, the event created a controversy between Luther and those allied with the Pope over a variety of doctrines and practices. When Luther and his supporters were excommunicated in 1520, the Lutheran tradition was born....The liturgical color of the day is red, which represents the Holy Spirit and the Martyrs of the Christian Church. Luther's hymn, A Mighty Fortress is our God is traditionally sung on this day. Lutherans customarily stand during the hymn, in memory of its use in the religious wars of the Sixteenth Century....

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still
His kingdom is forever.
(Lyrics from Cyberhymnal.com)


Friday Night @ COSI

Here's the kids in their halloween costumes. We've decided not to go trick-or-treat-ing this year so we went to COSI Friday night so they could wear their costumes. First up is Nathan as a Ninja Turtle (don't ask which one although my husband could tell you). Caleb was an army guy, Elizabeth was Dora (cute little wig to go with the costume but it wouldn't fit), and John was a mechanic with Mater from the Cars movie on his costume. I will say that for anyone who regularly goes to COSI or is thinking about it, the Bob The Builder exhibit is pretty cool! That's our good friend, Fionna, dressed up like a princess in the shot at COSI in front of the Bob exhibit.


Why am I not in church?

Elizabeth has a bad cold so that's why. I didn't stay home to listen to the new CD (although that's quite a bonus) or to recover from our Sunday School bonfire last night. After all, we left the bonfire early. We had a good time, though. I'll post some more later of the kids in their costumes from going to COSI on Friday night.

Guess what I got?!?!

(You should be able to imagine the huge grin on my face right now....!)
Big THANK YOU to Paula & Candace who gave me the new Steven Curtis Chapman CD!!!! I'm rockin' away as we speak to "Children of God":
Who are the treasured and the prized?
Who is the apple of God's eye?
Who is?
Who are the ones who bear His name?
Who are the children He has claimed as His?
Awesome song, I'm telling you! My favorite is probably "Yours" -- very worshipful and so very, very true.
It's all yours, God.
Yours, God.
Everything is yours.
From the stars in the sky to the depths of the ocean floor.
And it's all yours, God.
Yours, God.
Everything is yours.
You're the Maker and Keeper, Father, and Ruler of everything.
It's all Yours....
The glory is yours, God.
All the honor is yours, God.
The power is yours, God.
The glory is yours, God.
You're the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
And it's all yours, God.
I have cold chills....Then there's "Broken" (We're all broken and we all need a Savior") I love that first line "I'm just a well-dressed wreck". And, of course, there's "Cinderella" and SCC's song to his wife "One Heartbeat At A Time", the title track that's playing on radio right now "Miracle of the Moment", etc, etc. Anyway, I think you get the idea. Might end up my fav album but my all-time favorite SCC song (that will probably never change) is "Be Still And Know" off of his "Speechless" album that came out around 1999. I heard our former pastor, Tony, sing that song once as he was guest speaking. I'm a pretty hard sale on anyone other than SCC singing his songs (I can't stand it when someone else sings "I Will Be Here" at a wedding but that's just me) but Tony did a fabulous job on "Be Still And Know". I'll stop at that one lest I go on a why-I'm-hooked-on-SCC discussion that no one wants to hear about! You're probably rolling your eyes already and that's fine.... =)



To the Curry family. Dave has gone home to be with the Lord. Please pray for the Curry family and the church in WV that is now without it's pastor.

Fall has arrived (I think....)

Saturday was the official end of soccer season (how on earth did 11 weeks already go by?!?!) and the soccer awards. First stop, celebratory breakfast at Cracker Barrell (thanks Mamaw and Papaw for the treat!). Here's a few pictures of the boys' with their teams and the (deflated) soccer balls (their awards).

And, here's some pics of some pretty trees we found on our way home. Our camera does NOT do justice to these beautiful trees! I'm so bummed they didn't turn out better. We're thinking about getting an SLR camera after income tax time. We certainly use a camera a lot with school and stuff.


Pray for Dave

This email came to me this morning from one of our former pastors:

To one and all, Please pray for, and have remembered in your church, my brother Dave. Dave has been stricken with a rare auto-immune disease that has attacked his kidneys and lungs. Medications that were being used to treat his kidneys have further damaged his lungs. He is on vent and will remain so until God intervenes. He is pastor of First Baptist Church, Romney, WV. Please pray for his church and his wife Shirley. Thanks and I will update as God does His wonderful work.

Join us in praying for Dave and our former pastor/dear friend, Cliff.



Dr's appointment/ultrasound today....

Everything looks GREAT! The cyst seen on his brain at 19 weeks is GONE (praise the Lord)! Everything else remains unchanged which is a good thing. Weight still down (lost a pound in between last 2 appointments -- can you believe that?!?). BP was good although the top number had crept up quite a bit, although still within the normal range. Unfortunately, I'm no stranger to high BP during pregnancy so we'll have to keep an eye on that. Sugars are starting to get a little high during the day. But, because my fasting blood sugars are still WELL below 100 and they don't want to mess with those, they're going to try and put me on an oral medication during the day to see if that helps control things better. I'm happy that I can try something oral and avoid those insulin shots! As far as my activity level goes, he said that since the contractions I'm having are causing absolutely no change, that he doesn't see any need to keep me on any kind of activity restriction as long as I'm smart about what I do and listen to my body if it tells me to slow down. So -- all in all, this couldn't have been a better appointment. For the first time, they showed me 3D pictures. They showed up in color at the dr's office but the print out is B&W. Still, it's pretty remarkable. Can you see his hand in front of his face and the smirk on his face in the second picture? Cute, huh?? =) By the way, he finally has a name....Timothy Paul Stevens.