Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Reformation Day!

*Reformation Day is the anniversary of the day Martin Luther posted his 95 Thesis in 1517.  We spend the month of October studying various people, times and places in church reformation history.  The last week/days of the month we focus on Martin Luther.  We end this study with a Reformation/Fall party on October 31st; Reformation Day.

The little kids helped daddy roll out and decorate pumpkin sugar cookies (the dough actually had pumpkin and pumpkin spice in it; Miss E had made it a month ago and put it in the freezer).  Miss E made frosting for the cookies this morning.

The kids played "Pin the theses on the door."


We got pumpkin shaped pizzas and watched "Martin Luther"

We also had apple slices dipped in caramel.  The kids were able to earn candy by quoting our memory verses for this month and last month.  Everyone had too much candy, but we were happy to see that they had memorized their verses (they had not known that memorizing them would get them some candy).

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I want it to shine

Mr. M has been wanting his hair shorter and shorter over the last couple of years. This past year we've taken to buzzing his head with no guard, but that was not enough for him. "I want my head to shine" and "How can I make it shiny?" With Daddy home this week and the boys in need of hair cuts Mr. M was able to talk daddy into shaving his head with a razor (for the record; I was not opposed, just unwilling to do it myself).



This morning I found that he had done his hair by putting coconut oil all over his head to make it shine. I'm afraid he may have to wait until he is in his 30's to get a good shine out of that head though.

*And because I know you want to see more pictures of Miss A....

She has started giving me 3 hour stretches between feedings at night now, is more alert during the day, and continues to nurse very well.  She seems to enjoy being held by all of the big kids and is currently everyones favorite person in the house.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Getting to know Miss A

I've been enjoying some quiet peaceful special days getting to know Miss A.

I neglected to mention in her birth story post that she was born weighing 9 pounds (even) and  21 inches long.  Incase you are wondering, no she was not my largest baby.  Mr. K beat her by 1 ounce.  Two other babies were not far behind Miss A and Mr. K so I guess this would be about normal for my babies.  Two others were right around 8 pounds, what another two were just over 7 pounds.

She was born hungry and let us know it.  During her first 12 hours of life I think I had about 3 hours (total) that I was not nursing her.  I've never seen a newborn able to keep up feedings like this little girl.  No drifting off to sleep mid-feed for her.  Since the feedings were not yet filling her belly, more were needed.   The next 24 hours were about the same; almost constant feedings.   I happen to know that she was not only hungry, but also has no problem using her GREAT set of lungs.

At about 36 hours I noticed her gulping and swallowing more and she seemed a bit more content.  By about 48 hours she was getting her little belly filled and was much happier.  Over night she started giving me 2 hour stretches between feedings and she slept between all of them.  Ah, sleep!


I've been enjoying cuddling with this sweet girl now that her little belly is being filled.  I'm also getting to see her personality a bit better.  Such a sweet little girl she is, and quite content too.  She has been opening her eyes and looking around quite a bit.

She loves a good snuggle.  She does not seem to mind all of the strange faces, voices, and arms that keep coming to check her out.  She has not found it necessary (quite so often) to exercise her lungs, and she is making sweet squeaky noises more often.


What fun we will be having getting to know this little girl in the coming days, weeks, months and years.  What a sweet blessing she is!

*I love the contrast between these two outfits.  Miss C picked the Hello Kitty outfit and was just sure that Miss A needed it (whats not to love about a pepto pink Hello Kitty dress with a ballerina tutu?).  Miss J picked the yellow outfit; Miss J has always had certain maturity about her.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Miss A's birth story

*A couple of things that will help you understand this birth story....My labors have followed a similar pattern; start slow not much happening for several hours (I can just tell I'm in labor) then all of a sudden in the last two hours things start moving....  After a few natural births I was getting tired of working hard for a natural births (and the temptation to ask for an induction at the end)  and to be able to move around during labor.  I was thrilled to find that there was a detached birth center here in town staffed by mid-wives.  They are equipped similarly to how a home birth would be (which is quite safe for an uncomplicated pregnancy), but only a couple of minutes from a hospital.  It is possible to dilate and then close back up in part again (this has happened to me at least once in the past, and happened again with this birth story).

Miss A's birth story actually begins weeks ago on Sunday October 6th.  I had been up much of the night with contractions.  They had started at 20 min apart and had progressed to about every 5 minutes or so.  Still I was not quite sure, this was much earlier than I usually have my babies, I was only 37 weeks.  We decided it would be best to call and likely go in because all the signs were showing that that was the day.  Upon calling I was told that my test (done a couple of days earlier) had come back positive for Group B strep.  Yes, I should come in given all that was going on to get a dose of antibiotics.  Baby sitter was called, everything was gathered that we needed and off we went.  Then we spent the day walking and waiting.  Nothing was moving fast, but I was progressing, it did not seem wise to go home given my history of labors going slow at first and then kicking in all of a sudden with a quick birth.  By evening though it had become obvious that things had slowed to a stop.  We went home a bit discouraged, but at the same time thankful for some extra time to finish a few projects and such.

Two weeks later on October 20th I had been up again all night with contractions.  We had worked out a plan for a first dose of antibiotics with one of the mid-wives.  My labors usually start at night/early morning.  The plan was to just head in to get checked out and get a dose of antibiotics while the kids were all still sleeping and our teen would still be home (she would be going to the birth center for the birth).  After that we could go home for a couple/few hours and get the kids settled with the sitter etc.  When we arrived we were a bit surprised that I was already 5cm and thinning nicely.   We were still going home, but we would be back soon.  While my contractions continued through the morning and like last time I made slow progress and we went walking.  Miss A's head was high, it really needed to come down to make these contractions more effective.  We were starting to wonder if it was really the day, but at the next check I was 6cm, thinning more and her head was lower.  The mid-wife was sure we would be having a baby soon.  Miss A decided that this was not her day to be born and she removed her head from that good position.  We decided to give some herbs a try (that the midwife suggested) and give it another hour or two.  I felt her go to transverse and then back again.  That was when I knew we should just go home.  The midwife checked one more time.  Though everything was much higher the head was actually in a better position for breaking my water, that was the only option for moving things along.  If I made that choice though I'd be on the clock and have to be transferred to the hospital if things did not make good progress in the next 3 hrs, this would likely lead to interventions and even a c-section that we did not want.  I chose to go home for pizza and a movie with my family.

*I'm so blessed to have some very dear friends that were such an encouragement to me while I waited for Miss A to arrive.  Sweetly checking in on me, offers of distracting activities, meals, and their prayers all were such a blessing to me.

About a week later I was awakened during the night with contractions, but able to go back to sleep (I can never do that when I'm in labor though) I had a fairly good night's sleep.  In the morning when I got up I just felt off, with cramps, and was having some contractions.  I went on with my morning.  No matter what I did the contractions continued (sitting, standing, walking, even a nap), but with no regularity ranging from 15-5 minutes apart from mild to medium intensity.  Because I was just fed up with it and at my last appointment the mid-wife had suggested I call just to see if we could move things along (at 40 weeks they feel better about breaking water etc, and maybe the baby would be in a better position for that).  The mid-wife on call agreed that it would be a good idea to at least come in to see what was up.  Rob headed home from work.  I called a friend; could she watch the kids for a couple of hours?  It was probably nothing, but best to go in to get checked out.  By 11:30 we had arrived at the birth center and the awesome mid-wife was informing me that she would be moving things along today and I would be having a baby today.  First I needed to get those antibiotics though.  After finding out that we were planning on going home to settle kids and tie up loose ends she decided that checking me would be a good idea (just in case I was farther along that we thought).  Nearly 6cm and bulging bag of waters- this time my contractions seemed to be moving things along!

We went home to get a few things done and met up with the baby sitter who would be going to pick up the kids and bring them home from the friend's house.  We had lunch and ran a few errands.  From time to time I started to wonder if maybe my body was kicking things into gear on its own, but then again maybe not it still didn't feel like much was happening....

I was ready and waiting at the birth center for the mid-wife, and my water was broken by 4:00.  When she broke my water she found that I was nearly 7cm.  It seems that now, when I'm finally in labor, I didn't feel like I was.  Funny.  Good thing I got things moving when I did this morning or we may have had a mad dash at the end there to get Rob home, kids with the sitter and me to the birth center.  Things moved along quickly ofter that.  The nurse asked if I wanted the tub filled, I said she may as well.   By about 4:40 I was thinking that tub sounded like a great idea; the contractions were getting stronger and I was starting to feel that nasty back labor I always get.  As soon as I got in the tub the back labor went away and never came back.  A few minutes later I could tell things were starting to move along, Rob had Miss E get the mid-wife.  We all chatted between contractions until I needed to rest between them.  Soon I was feeling like I wanted to push, so I did.  My mid-wife could tell I'd started pushing and came to my side.  Miss A was born into the water and brought up all clean and pretty onto my chest at 5:15 pm, just 1 hr and 15 minutes after breaking my water.  Moments later Miss J was summoned to the room so she could be a part of the birth.


Within about 5 minutes I was cleaned up and in bed.  Miss A (as well as her cord and placenta) were all wrapped up and in Daddy's arms ready to receive guests.  The rest of the kids joined us so that they could cut the cord, or at least watch.  We had three takers on cutting the cord, but one backed out at the last minute.  Mr. M and Miss J did a great job cutting the cord.


The kids came with cupcakes and a gift.  We had a little birthday party for her.


The kids got the chance to check her out and hold her too, then they headed home with our incredible baby sitter who spent the night with them.


*I was absolutely thrilled with the birth center experience.  I loved that they took great care of us, but were as hands off as we wanted them to be.  I loved the freedom and flexibility we had.  The water birth was amazing, it was the easiest birth I've had yet (and my births have all been quite easy).  The kids appreciated being able to be as involved as we would let them be and how excited the mid-wife and nurse were to have them there with us.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Our newest addition(s)!


They arrived last night.  Aren't they cute?

What?  You were expecting that I was announcing the birth of Miss A?  I wish!  I figured if I must still be pregnant I may as well have fun with this.  :)

Rob picked them up from a friend last night.  One is quite the cuddly little thing; while the other loves to run and explore.

*Even after he let go of her she stayed and cuddled.

Since the kids have done so well with their school work the last few weeks we took today off and headed to the Children's Museum to hang out.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pregnancy update 39 weeks

Given the number of people checking in with me in recent days I thought I'd post a pregnancy update.  I'm 39 weeks today and the midwife declared Miss A as "cooked" at yesterday's appointment.  Childcare is lined up and waiting.  Bags are packed.  Cupcakes are in the freezer waiting for a birthday party.   We're all just waiting around for the two of us to get this moving.  If I had the ability to get things moving she would be in my arms by now, but its not up to me.  We will just play the waiting game knowing that God knows the very minute of her birth and His plan is good.

Here is a picture I took yesterday after my appointment.  It looks like I just stuck a basketball in my shirt.  It also gives the appearance that I'm "all baby" but if you knew how much weight I have gained you'd know there is no way that is the case.  I'll have plenty of work ahead of me to get back into my regular clothes in the coming months.

In the mean time we're trying to keep up with some school, keeping a bit of order to our days, finishing a few last projects that were low on the to-do-list, and having fun too.

At this point nearly every move she makes can be seen from the outside.  The kids are having fun watching their baby sister squirm around in my belly and poking her to get a reaction.  Mr. K likes to give her kisses and is often sweetly saying to my belly "come out!"

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Today (Saturday) I took Miss E and Miss J to run a couple of errands while Miss C stayed home (to nap) and the big boys cleaned up the garage with Daddy (Mr. K was sleeping too).

It seems Miss C did not think she needed a nap and decided to help Daddy in the garage instead.  At some point she headed inside though.  Rob came in to find this....


She pulled out the bowl, measuring cups, flour, milk, salt etc. and just started mixing.  She was making a cake.  Daddy helped her a bit by pulling out some sugar and cinnamon and helped her get it in the pan (and then the oven).  It didn't turn out, but boy was she proud of herself!

It is good to know that she is quite capable in the kitchen (not that we were in doubt, she is always in there with us), and how she would spend her time if left unsupervised for a bit.  Now she just needs to learn to read so that she can be a bit more successful on her own.  In the mean time I'll have to make up some mixes for her to put together all by herself.

*After tasting it Miss J came to me very seriously to tell me "Don't taste the cinnamon bread, it is salty and green on the bottom"  later she was heard to say "thats nasty dude!"   On the other hand, Mr. K kept going back for more.  Miss C was very sure that Miss A (yet to be born) needed a taste too, so I got to taste it.  It was indeed salty and green on the bottom, but it did have a nice cinnamon flavor to it.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Moments of rest and peace

We're in the home stretch here as far as this pregnancy goes.  I most likely have about a week and a half left.  That means I'm huge, tired and ready to be done.  On top of that Miss C came down with a mild cold and it seems that she was kind enough to pass it on to me.  We've been pushing forward with our regular school schedule, but it sort of fell apart today.  I think I'm about done and I was feeling bad about that....

Then I looked around.  Mr. K and Mr. S were sitting together on the couch enjoying apples and playing a game together on the iPad.

Miss E was reading books to Miss C.


Mr. M had offered to read to Miss J and she was really enjoying that.

I'm so blessed that right when I needed that little break, that little pick-me-up; all was right in our world. God had brought such a peace to our home and gave some sweet moments of rest.  I'm also thankful that as I was planning school for this month and next I planned plenty for the kids to do, but not too much.  We're able to relax a bit in these last weeks.  Then Dad can take over for a couple of weeks!

*Mr. R was in the kitchen working on a science experiment.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Apple season is just starting around here, the fresh organic ones are just starting to show up at the farmer's markets in limited varieties.  Last week-end Rob took our flat bed trailer to a "local" farm (just 90 minutes away) to pick up apples for our family, friends, and health food co-op.  I think he loaded over 70 40 lb boxes of organic apples!

Now we are processing our three boxes (Yes, that is 120 pounds of apples).   Before taking this on I checked with the kids.  Did they want apple butter and apple chips this year?  Yes!  Were they willing to do the work, knowing that I was not up to doing much of the work?  Yes!  OK then.  They have been pealing and coring our apples for the past few days.  The little kids love to eat the long strings of apple peel (its our version of "fruit by the foot").


Within a few hours of the apples arriving at our home we had a batch in the dehydrator.  The second batch is now drying.

Yesterday I canned our apple butter.  That was my contribution to the apple processing.

Miss E made an apple pie.  It was perfect!

Even the peels and cores do not go to waste.  After the kids got their fill (of the peels) we filled gallon sized jars with the cores and peels to make apple cider vinegar.  The rest are going to our rabbits and chickens (and if they get their fill we will take the remainder to our friends' goats).
You can see bubbles in the jar and foam at the top.  This is the fermenting process happening.  It will not be long before this batch is smelling like apple wine, then it will continue on to vinegar!  This will be used all year for cleaning and in some cooking.

The kids will continue to dehydrate apples for the next week or so.  They also have plans for apple sauce and maybe another pie.  The fruit drawer in the refrigerator is full of the smallest apples (the perfect size for little snackers) that we skimmed off of the boxes as soon as we got them.  We will be enjoying these apples in some form or another for the next year!