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!