What do you think?

If you're not a faithful reader of my blog or if you've not seen that the majority of my posts have almost no deep thinking involved, then I should let you know that this blog was created with the sole intention of keeping out-of-state family & friends up to date with what is going on with the Stevens Clan, namely keeping my parents from going into Grandbaby Withdraw! I'm happy to sit down every now and then and share a cute picture or story, give doctor appointment updates, tell how big everyone is getting, and sharing milestones of their childhood(s). (Can you make "childhood" plural?) But, recently, after several comments from friends and even a few strangers, and after visiting great blogs like this one and this one that clearly share more than "Guess what Junior's gotten into today?!?", perhaps I should rethink my intention? I certainly don't claim to be a writer but I've been told that people would love more of a glimpse inside what life is like as a mom to 6 kids or what it's like having so many boys vs. girls. Perhaps share my mom tips or what my favorite baby products are? Maybe write more about my faith or share some inspiration? Here's my initial thinking -- #1 Why would you want to hear from me? I'm the farthest thing from Martha Stewart, I have almost no organizational skills, and I'm not your typical nuturing Mom-martyr (and I'm not claiming that to be one of my strong points). #2, Do I really have the time to sit down and put together posts on mothering topics? #3, What would I write about? So, for the handful of my faithful blog readers, I ask -- what do you think? And be specific. Something like "I'd like for you to write about....." or "Please, no, DON'T write anything. I just like looking at your cute kids." Not that I mind the comments -- in fact, I'm hoping for more than 2 this time -- but a plain ol' "Sure, write more" really is not what I'm looking for. So now's your chance. Let me have it! :)


Body After Baby, week 3 recap

I agree with Mama Notes -- can we just not talk about week 3??? Didn't step on the scale this morning -- my Momma didn't raise no dummy! -- and while the week was disastrous as far as dieting & exercise are concerned, it did end on a high note. I was able to fit in a 2 mile walk last night & even did it in spite of the fact that I wasn't able to reach my exercise buddy.

Week 4 goals? Do I have to have them (lol)? Can I just surprise myself?!?! If not, then I resolve to eat less and exercise more. Not specific enough, I know, but I don't think I have goal setting in me today. But I'm not as down-on-the-world as it sounds....

Prayers for wisdom

Doing some research online after receiving an email from a dear friend who happens to know a lot about special education.... She saw my post about what happened last Tuesday with the visit from the BCMH nurse and the Help Me Grow lady. After reading her thoughts and doing just a tad bit of research (just in the last hour, so not like a TON of research yet), I'm asking you to pray for wisdom for Jonathan & me. We just want Timothy to get some help with his speech. That really is all we want! And, this with Help Me Grow was the way I was told to go about getting him that help. However, I'm beginning to wonder if we've opened a can of worms here that we don't want open. I'm not exactly talking "Big Brother" fears here but I don't want a bunch of governmental agencies with their noses in my business, especially considering I have 6 children and we homeschool. I'd much rather them stay away, LOL! Pray for boldness to find a way to tell them "This is what I want & you can leave everything else alone" without seeming like a mother who doesn't care or who is in any way neglecting her children (I'm sure they have Child Protective Services on speed dial!). Pray for protection for our family, especially where Timothy's future education is concerned. The words "special school" have already been mentioned and, of course, we'd prefer to keep Timothy at home. After all, it's not like he's deaf! His hearing loss is MILD (just ask Candace!). My fear is that putting my foot down on any of these issues -- not agreeing to other forms of therapies, not letting them get their hands on my other kids, and not agreeing to put Timothy into a "special school" -- will tick off the wrong person and cause a nightmare for us. We're in the application process for a Homeschool Legal Defense membership. They provide 24/7 legal counsel to homeschoolers when their right to homeschool is in jeopardy and I'm going to continue arming myself with information on my rights as a parent. While we walk this course, please pray for us!


Matthew West

Ever heard of him? If not, it is my humble opinion that you should. His latest release Something To Say speaks to me, sometime as if I had written the songs myself. I may have to upload one of those annoying music players to the blog to bug you with his stuff! One little snippet (is that even a word?)....this song made me cry (& that's saying a lot):

"Stop The World"

The TV is talking
The telephone’s ringing
The lights are all on
And the radio’s screaming
A million distractions are stealing my heart from You
I’m tired and empty
This life is relentless
It weakens my knees
And breaks my defenses
It’s wearing me down and I’m desperate to hear from You

Stop the world I wanna get out
I need an escape away from this crowd
Just to hear You speak to me


Words of wisdom

From my friend, Nancy, for my Body After Baby Challenge friends:

...there is a spiritual aspect to exercise, as well! For starters, we are God's workmanship. Psalms 139:14," I will praise Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Thy works, and that my soul knoweth quite well". Romans 12:1, " I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship". My point here, is to stress that our bodies do count. Our body belongs to God. Our bodies matter. God doesn't demand our bodies because he, as John Piper quotes "wants models for Mademoiselle or Planet Muscle. He demands our bodies because he wants models of service" . Exercise makes us more effective in serving the Lord! Charles Spurgeon said, “A mouthful of sea air, or a stiff walk in the wind’s face would not give grace to the soul, but it would yield oxygen to the body, which is next best” ! 1 Cor. 6:19,20, " Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." These verses refer directly to those who are following Christ as their Lord. The better care Christians take of their body, the more able they are to carry out active Christian service, which is their primary purpose here. 1 Cor. 10:31 best sums it up, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." ! These truths should dramatically affect our approach to exercise! We don’t ultimately exercise for the purpose of losing weight or so that we look good. We exercise ultimately for the glory of God. We lace up our running shoes and pound the pavement so that we can serve God effectively for years to come. We lift weights so that at age 65 we can share the gospel with our grandchildren. We go to the gym so that we can lovingly care for our spouse for many years. Now do not go out and make a list of exercise rules and regulations that you now must follow! Change doesn't happen that way. Change is often synonymous with "process". The point is, to start!


Strong words

This morning was crazy! Let me try to be brief but give you the back story (unless you'd like to go back through the blog posts to Timothy's birth?....Didn't think so). So Timothy failed his hearing tests in the hospital. Once that happened, I began receiving phone calls from *someone* claiming that they followed infants with hearing loss in Franklin County. This person (who's name I did not write down) called me periodically throughout Timothy's first 9 months as we were still wading through different tests & procedures trying to get to the bottom of things and reach a diganosis. Once Timothy was officially diagnosed with hearing loss in the fall, this person said she'd turn me over to *someone* who would start the process to set Timothy up with help such as speech therapy. This new person (who's name I didn't write down) called me in February which was not a good time with Lydia coming. I asked her to call me in April, which never happened, so I started contacting people on my own last week. I don't think I've found the right *someones* but.... This nurse I talked to last week said she was with the BCMH (Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps) which, she explained, was basically a supplemental insurance program that would help direct us to the appropriate drs and therapists and pick up where our insurance left off, financially speaking. Said that she and another woman, a rep for "Help Me Grow" (an "early intervention" program offered to all children in Franklin County who have "handicaps") would need to come out to see Timothy and fill out the paperwork. That was today. And I was left reeling. My mother's heart was broken. Their words were very strong.... Words like "handicapped" and "developmentally delayed" and "MRDD" (Mental Retardation & Development Delays) and "special school" and "sign language". They kept talking about how far behind Timothy was. It was almost more than I could bear. There is NOTHING wrong with this child! Sure, he has MILD hearing loss in his left ear but -- and anyone who's ever spent time with Timothy will tell you -- he does JUST FINE even without his hearing aid in! He doesn't yet use words nor does he walk but he's only 17 months old! He's still got time, right? As far as Timothy goes (and there's more not having to do with Timothy), he will be evaluated very soon by a group of therapists (speech & language, phsycial, occupational, etc) who will evaluate him in EVERY area (neurological, social, emotional, vision, hearing, speech, motor skills, etc) and will recommend a course of action. The nurse was just killing me with suggesting that Timothy need all these different types of therapy. "Okay, lady," I though to myself, "I just called you to get him speech therapy not for you to come into my home and tell me all the things that are wrong with my child!" *sigh*

But, wait -- there's more! While the nurse was finishing up and the rep from Help Me Grow was taking over (she was not a nurse, by the way), I noticed that the nurse was talking to John. In a few minutes, she asks me if John was in speech therapy. I told her no and she said "Well, I can tell he's behind in his speech". WHAT?!?! Are you kidding me?!?! No one, and I mean no one -- not 1 Sunday School teacher, not 1 nursery worker, not 1 relative, not 1 anyone has ever said to me that John is difficult to understand the way this lady was making it sound (all 4 year olds are difficult to understand at times by those not close to them, right?)! She said I was unlikely to "see" it because I was his mother. While I was trying to let that go AND deal with the whole Timothy stuff, she then turns to Elizabeth to say good-bye. Then she stops and asks Elizabeth to look at her. "When was the last time Elizabeth saw an eye dr?" she asks. "She's never seen an eye dr," I reply. "Come look, Mom," she says. Elizabeth's left eye drifts in toward her nose when she focuses on your face.... I've never noticed it before but I did, indeed, see it happen. Fantastic! She then said she was leaving without looking at any other children and I actually replied outloud "Yes, please!". "I'm sure I'll hear from you soon," she said....

I guess I should be glad it's time for their birthday check-ups?

Lydia's first professional picture


Happy Birthday, Elizabeth!

Elizabeth Jeanann Stevens
May 18, 2004
4-something a.m.
6 pounds, 13 ounces
1 year
2 years
3 years
4 years
Happy Birthday, silly girl!

Body After Baby, week 2 recap

Week 2 was MUCH better! No weight loss to report but after my weekend of heavy eating, I'm very happy with maintaining. My goals for last week were:

1 -- Exercise with my new exercise buddy at least twice. CHECK! :) Charissa and I walked both on Monday and Thursday night, Monday night for an hour, Thursday night for about 45 minutes (but with many more ups and downs so I'm sure we worked just as hard). I also took the kids to the zoo on Tuesday (3 hours of walking but with starts and stops of course) and did some serious sweat-bringing housework on Friday and Saturday getting ready for John & Elizabeth's birthdays party.

2 -- Drink at least 2 16-oz glasses of water each day, total of 32-oz each day. I used a 16-oz glass b/c that's what we had in the house. But after our walk Monday night with my water bottle flopping in the stroller's cup holder, I stopped and bought one that happened to be 24 ounces (but unfortunately is too big for my stroller's cup holder!). So the recap for each day goes like this: Monday, 24 ounces; Tuesday, 48 ounces plus; Wednesday, 48 ounces plus; Thursday, 48 ounces plus; Friday, 24 ounces; Saturday, 24 ounces; and Sunday, a little less than 24 ounces. Still, considering I wasn't drinking water regularly at all, I think this is an accomplishment.

(And yes, I've gone back to making unsweet tea.)

Week 3 goals:

1 -- Bump up the exercise but adding a 3rd exercise day for the week
. This will probably be without my exercise buddy 'cause I have a crazy week planned which, of course, will make it harder to accomplish 'cause we all know how hard it is to be motivated to exercise on your own.

2 -- Get my 48 ounces of water each day.

3 --
Begin working on portion control. I plan to do this by leaving a little behind after each meal and/or not going back for more. Trust me, I can stand to do this! I eat too much (usually 'cause I finish what my kids don't eat.)

Have a blessed week!

You can read about the Body After Baby Challenge at http://www.mamanotes.com/2009/04/body-after-baby.html


Party Day!

We'll celebrating John's 4th and Elizabeth's 5th birthdays tonight. Enjoy!


Another zoo trip

This time, the tiger and a few fish. Nathan's turning out to be quiet a photographer, don't you think?

Trampoline Fun

We LOVE sports mode on our camera. As long as you hold down on the shutter, it just keeps clicking away. GREAT way to get shots like these!


Allow me bragging rights

Saw this post from Todd Smith (of singing sensation "Selah"):
http://toddsmithonline.wordpress.com/2009/05/12/thou-shalt-not-compare-thy-spouse-to-others/ And I felt like I had to comment & brag on my hubby! (You really must go read Todd's post first!) This is what I said:

LOVE this post! Hilarious!!!! But, Todd, my friend, I hate to disappoint you but there is a man who’d be willing to do this for his wife. I know b/c I’m married to him and have been at the receiving end of his generosity many, many times!! Numerous times we’ve walked into church, saw that our nursery was short on help, & I’ve watched as my husband volunteered to help. (Kinda makes me feel guilty, though.) Many, many, many nights he comes home to a frazzled wife who’s been home with our 6 kids all day long (we homeschool) and does he complain that dinner’s not ready or that I’m in a really, REALLY bad mood? Nope! He watches our 6 kids while said-frazzled-wife goes to the grocery store alone or evens goes out to dinner with an equally-frazzled mom. Sorry to rain on your parade! Kudos to you for stepping up anyway! :)


Body After Baby, week 1 recap

Well, I'd really like to just not post anything on this one! Got nothing accomplished as far as BAB last week. Didn't get my exercise in and ate horribly. BUT, I do have good news. I've found an exercise buddy! We're going to meet at least twice a week to walk the trails at our local parks and try some accountability as far as diet & exercise go. Our first night is tonight!! She's also got some nutritional/diet information she's going to share with me. I did change the weight loss ticker over there ----> BUT I have a disclaimer. What I entered for my starting weight was what the doctor's office said I weighed at my pre-op appointment in early April. I'm sure the 1.4 pounds has absolutely nothing to do with anything more than differences in scales. Speaking of scales, I did buy a new digital one so I'm not sitting there staring at lines and trying to figure out what they mean. That's my recap.

Goal(s) for B.A.B. week #2: Hit the trails with exercise buddy twice this week; daily, make sure I drink at least 2 glasses (our glasses are 16 ounces so that would be a total of 32 ounces) of water each day. Also going back to unsweetened tea but that's not as big a deal as it sounds.


The Big T

Timothy is 17 months old today!
Timothy is bravely starting to stand on his own but just for few precious seconds. He walks really well with help but hasn't taken those precious first steps quite yet. He's still babbling more than saying anything that makes sense although he does say "night night" (which also means "bye bye") and "da da" frequently. Just today I heard him say something that sounded like "ball" and he definitely repeated the "b" sound which he's never used before. He's learned in just the last little bit how to climb on and off the couch and a variety of other places, like climbing on the bench and then onto the top of the kitchen table. He's also learned how to stand in his high chair and crawl out onto his tray. It's terrifying! We can't quite figure out how to loosen the belt in the high chair and it's too tight to buckle him in. We plan on figuring it out very soon, before he ends up on the floor. He's doing okay with his hearing aid but, if you know us very well, you know that he rarely has it in. That's my fault. It's just not on my radar enough to remember it everyday. And we've decided he can't wear it in the car any more as that's when he gets bored and pulls it out and chews on it. He's "fractured" his mold (the squishy part) but, thankfully, it doesn't effect the mold and because it fits sooooo well, we don't want to rush to get another one made. We're supposed to get his speech therapy started in the next 2 weeks. I LOVE this age (& Lydia's age, too, but this blog is about Timothy, not Lydia). I love playing Pat-a-Cake & Itsy Bitsy Spider with him and to watch him try and do the motions, too. He's got the clapping down! Oh, and to watch him shake his head no -- hilarious! For your viewing enjoyment (with a little John thrown in for good measure)

The others at ~17 months:
JohnElizabeth (obviously....)


Misc thoughts & Lydia's 2 month check-up

Well, I'm happy with the results of yesterday's election. I wasn't really passionate about many of the issues but one....the Reynoldsburg City School District Levy. It failed and yes, I'm glad. "That's pretty easy for you to say since you choose to homeschool your children," you're probably thinking. Well, quite frankly, you're right! However, you're only about half right. This wasn't as easy a decision as you might think it would have been for us. Why? For starters, I have a niece, nephew, & kids on my street in Reynoldsburg City Schools....I really do feel bad for all of them! I don't remember much from elementary school but moist of what I do remember is days in music class, gym, and art -- all things these kids will not have when they return to school this fall. (But I must say this gives my currently-overwhelmed-by-homeschooling heart the boost it needs to dig my heels in and make our homeschool a success!) Secondly, I'm also concerned about where these other jobs that are going to be cut are coming from...Reynoldsburg City Schools provides my father-in-law's income! I think he's safe for now as he's the head custodian of one of the elementary schools but I wonder if some of his support staff might be cut. And third, there's always that thought in the back of my head, that "what if something were to happen & I/we would need to put our kids in public school" thought. I really don't like thinking that if my kids were to ever be in the local schools, that they'd be in crowded classrooms and go through days with no gym, art, or music. But, it boiled down to this....we really can't afford such a HUGE jump in our mortgage payment, and it would have been significant (around $100/month, if I understand correctly). So if you can call that "glad" or "happy" that the levy failed, then I guess I'd say I'm "glad".

Body after baby mid-week #1....haven't reached my goal of exercising yet but the week's still young! And I have been doing a lot of sweating lately trying to keep this house clean. So I haven't been sitting around, either. Bad eating week, though, as I had a special ladies function at church on Sunday & dinner out with a friend on Monday so I haven't been watching my portions properly. But, hey, that wasn't 1 of my goals so I can let it slide, right?!?! :) But I think I might have just been blessed with a walking buddy, if I can get it worked out.

Mom confessional...and you got to promise you won't look down on me for being so transparent, okay? Going to church is my release, my mental break, often my only trip out of the house during a week unless it's grocery week. Don't get me wrong -- I KNOW I am blessed not only to have children but to have a husband who does let me at least run errands by myself in the evenings and even take nights off, like Monday when I went out with Kisha. I know other moms don't get that opportunity.... But....I don't even know if I can put a word on it but I can't tell you how it bothers me to not only miss church but to sit back & watch Jonathan go when 1 of us has to stay home with a sick kid(s). It is so hard, especially on Wednesdays, to avoid thinking "He gets to be gone alllllll day long to work and then come home, barely spend an hour here (but really NOT here 'cause he's preparing his lesson...alone...locked up in our room), and then he gets to leave again". Sounds like a whiny kid, doesn't it? Well, it's really bad today -- not only am I home with 1 sick child, I'm home with all of the kids but ONE and Jonathan has to stay late! Timothy's caught another cold on top of the sinus infection, John & Elizabeth both have a cold, and we believe Lydia has the beginnings of it, too. Caleb is here, though, and along with me, Jonathan, & Nathan he doesn't seem to have any symptoms of anything (yet). We're in the middle of a series on a healthy church and I've now missed it 2 weeks in a row which is saying a lot -- it's taught in Sunday School, it's preached in the morning service (wasn't there last week, was helping with the ladies luncheon this past week & missed both SS & preaching), AND it's discussed on Wednesday nights (which I missed last week 'cause Timothy was sick & am missing again tonight). And there's not even an option for Jonathan to stay home with the kids on Wednesday nights because he's teaching. So there -- I've said it....now you probably think I'm some sort of ungrateful or spoiled brat....I have no idea what my problem is.

While I'm posting, I'll let you know that Lydia is doing great! Other than perhaps the start of a cold and MAYBE a MINOR case of colic (she's fussy off and on most of the evenings, and is really fussy between 9 and midnight), she's perfect! 11 pounds, 4 1/2 ounces (a little above the 50th percentile), 21 1/2 inches long (25th percentile). After the way Elizabeth grew, it's so nice to see her "average". She got her first set of shots today as well and goes back @ 4 months.

I must go wipe noses & change at least 1 stinky diaper....


4 years old

5.5.05....Happy 4th Birthday, John!
(a few days after birth, in the NICU; feeding tube tape on his mouth)
1 Year2 Years3 YearsEaster this year


2 months

Sweet Lydia is 2 months old today!
The others at (approx.) 2 months....who does Lydia look like???


Body After Baby Challenge

It's May 1st....time for a challenge! I'm joining "Mama Notes" and friends for the "Body After Baby Challenge". It's not limited to women who've just had babies but that's her motivation after she had a baby boy in March. She also talks about bathing suit season which has no appeal to me whatsoever but hey -- more power to her! :) Here's the rules, copied off her blog, with some of my own thoughts:

1. Post on your blog your long term goals. Generally a goal that you want to have accomplished in 4-6 months. Be specific. Speaking in terms of pounds, my long term goal for this 4-6 month time frame is 30 pounds. Can I find my scale?!?!

2. List your short term goals for the week. For example, lose one pound this week or exercise four days a week. For this first week (which is really 10 days, 5/1-5/10), my short term goal is to exercise at least twice. I haven't exercised since before I got pregnant with Lydia so I'm not going to push myself too much. I hope that doesn't sound like a cop-out....

3. List your plan of action. How you're going to reach your goals. General "diet and exercise". For the diet part, cut back on intake (duh!) and wean myself off caffeine, starting with pop. Will take a while to get me off of tea, I'm sure, as that's what I drink more than anything. Any day I don't have caffeine, I start to feel it around bedtime with a terrible headache....For the exercise part, I have several work out videos to use and also the treadmill if Jonathan gets it fixed. Right now it's stuck at a severe incline.

4. Re-cap every Monday. On Monday's we will review our goals and our progress. We will post our success's and failures and share them with other's! Be honest. Obviously the first re-cap will be Monday, May 11.

5. Leave a link to the post in your blog so that we can all motivate and support each other. Judgement is not allowed, only support and encouragement. (You can leave your link in the comments section for now.) You can see her blog -- and read the comments of other women -- at www.mamasnotes.com/2009/04/body-afer-baby.html

Honestly, I've been overweight since before puberty and have only ever been successful at weight loss one time, right after John was born. I won't say for certain what I weigh right now (or then) but I was, at my best, 5 pounds shy of breaking 200. I've weighed over 200 since college....Wish I felt more confident 'cause I really don't. How I did it before almost isn't an option -- I literally didn't get there by myself. I was working out wtih my friend, Kisha, and we were keeping each other accountable. Once we allowed ourselves to get busy with life and started cutting back on exercise, everything went downhill. We went to the beach that April, returning on 4/30/07, and I was determined to do it on my own. However, I found out I was pregnant with Timothy the very next day so I ended up talking myself out of it. Did okay with the pregnancy with Timothy -- only gained around 10 pounds -- but in between Timothy's birth and getting pregnant with Lydia, I put back on the weight and then some. I now weigh more than I ever have not pregnant and, to get to what the charts say is ideal weight for someone my height, I need to loose somewhere around 90 pounds (no joke....). Disgusting, I know. Anyway, pray for me and the other women who are joining this challenge, would you?!?! I've added a ticker under my Twitter updates that I'll update every Monday as well.