Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Meeting their brother

     It is amazing how different things are as you start to have the ages of your kids really spread out over time. It used to be a worry on what to do with the little kids when I went into labor. We had to think through who would be available to come quickly to our house or be ready for the kids to be dropped off. This time was totally different. All of our older kids were home and we were able to simply leave the house knowing that the older kids would be able to care for the younger ones. 

     Then the next morning when it was time for the fun first meeting for all the siblings, we were able to have James drive the younger ones up to the hospital for us. Wow. Stop and think about that for a minute if you have younger kids. LOL. Can you imagine being able to have a family support system like this in your own household? It's amazing! And our big kids really stepped up and helped out in such a fantastic way. Remember they had to not only drive the kids to the hospital but also get them dressed, teeth brushed, breakfast made and cleaned up, and diapers done for Hayden. But this is part of the awesome way a larger family can operate. Okay, I'm done bragging on the older kids. Now time for the fun part, pictures. Some of the kids are pretty funny!

Russell was a little disappointed to have to wait a few hours to come to the hospital but loves holding his little brother!

Katerina is so proud to be able to start stepping up as an older kid and adores this little brother of hers. Which shows that a baby is lovable no matter wether they are a boy or a girl. (If you remember she wasn't thrilled that Elijah was a boy since she wanted a baby sister.)

James is at the age where babies are just kinda there but I catch him every so often playing with the little ones in such a sweet way. Shhh don't let the word get out that he's a softy on the inside.

Of course Hayden can't be left out! He loves holding his little brother. The only problem is he is over excited and only two so he needs to be blocked sometimes from getting to Elijah. 

Natalia wishes she were older so she could hold Elijah more often. It's hard when you are only five and have to contend with older siblings who are allowed to just pick up the baby and you have to wait for help. 

Savanna is the one who did a lot of the work in making sure the little ones were properly dressed and that basic hygiene was done before leaving the house. We teased her a little because when she arrived it looked as if she was a little out of it since she had no makeup on and her hair wasn't really done up. (These are two areas she enjoys doing everyday before ever leaving the house.)

I'm sure you can tell that we are all totally in love with this tiny, precious bundle from God!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Elijah Steven



Announcing Elijah Steven!


What a precious blessing he is! And his birth was many prayers answered. It was a weird week before he was born. I had contractions on and off for a week. Then Saturday May 3rd I was praying NOT to go into labor since my son had a hockey game and my step-daughter had prom and I didn't want anything to take away from that. Plus Steve was driving her to prom and then hanging at a restaurant with some buddies until he had to go pick her up.

After Steve picked her up from prom and they got home and he checked on me (I was laying in bed) and then he went to sit in the living room with Savanna and her boyfriend while they watched a movie. All of the sudden I felt a huge kick and then knew my water had broken. I have never had it fully rupture so that was new. It was about 11:45 pm and I think my hubby had everything in the car and instructions given to the kids in about 5 minutes flat. LOL. He said he didn't want to have to deliver the baby. So we were off pretty quick. We arrived at the hospital around 12:30 am. Of course they don't admit until they know you are in labor so here I am contracting and trying to answer the zillion questions. She checked me and I was 5 cm and 50%. 

So the nurse went to update the midwife. It felt like it was taking her forever but I'm sure in reality it wasn't that long. Meanwhile labor was getting harder and harder to focus through. All of the sudden I felt my legs start to shake and I knew I was in transition. I told DH that and then said I was ready for the water. (We had planned on doing another waterbirth which is why we use this particular hospital.) My sister went to ask the nurse if we could get moving towards the water and so the nurse came back in and took one look at me and said she didn't think they were going to officially move me to the room with the birthing tub but instead asked if we would walk down. I didn't mind as long as we could get to the water asap! 

So she quickly got the tub starting to fill and then came back to check on me. Shortly there after she said to come down the hall. It was a little hard to stand up while contracting but I remembered how nice the water felt and just wanted it now. So down the hall we went. As soon as I got in the contractions didn't feel nearly as tough. Steve and my sister both remarked how much of a difference it seemed to make. It wasn't long before I started to feel the urge to push. This is a first for me and something I had prayed for. I told DH I felt like I wanted to push. The nurse checked and said to go ahead as I felt I wanted since I was complete. Then she went to get the midwife.

I love that they pretty much left me alone. I naturally started to push a little and then stop and relax and then do it again. I could feel him moving down and it was so neat! Then I felt his head crown and I just wanted him out so I pushed and pushed. (The nurse listed my pushing stage at only 5 minutes.) My hubby says he shot out like a torpedo at this point because I was pushing so hard. Meanwhile the midwife had come in and for some reason thought I wasn't ready so she walked back out. The nurse said she was nervous SHE would have to deliver Elijah because the midwife wouldn't make it in time. Another nurse ran to tell her that his head was crowning. The midwife managed to just put her gloves on and reach in right as I reached down and grabbed him as he came out. She unwrapped his cord (it was wrapped twice around his neck and was still the longest cord I've ever seen!) And then she put him on my chest.

I must have said how glad I was that he was here at least 20 times. He was 7 lbs 4 oz 19 inches. Born at 2:23 am on Star Wars Day, May 4th. This too was an answer to prayer since my last baby was 9 lbs 4 ozs. It was the best labor and birth.

We managed to avoid a jaundice re-admittance to the hospital by a mere 1 point but again that was another answer to prayer. This is my first baby NOT to go under the bili lights. Everyone here is so in love with him and he barely ever gets put down. Other than hating to get his diaper changed, he is a very laid back baby.

So now my stats are:

#1 born at 37 + 3 at 7 lbs 6 ozs
#2 born at 38 + 4 at 8 lbs 13 ozs
#3 born at 37 + 1 at 7 lbs 9 ozs
#4 born at 38 + 1 at 9 lbs 4 ozs
#5 Born at 37 + 5 at 7 lbs 4 ozs

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Getting ready for a new baby



After surviving the Christmas season and the start back to homeschooling, I am now finding myself compiling a list of things to do before the new baby comes. We found out on Christmas eve that baby is a boy! I had a neat idea that I had seen about wrapping cupcakes with either blue or pink frosting to tell siblings about the gender of their new sibling and so I couldn't help but decide to do this!



This is the reaction we received from the kids. You can tell Russell is thrilled but Katerina and Natalia seem a little disappointed. They were really hoping for a girl. But once we started getting the baby clothes out to inventory what we have and what we need, they really started to get excited. 

So that is the first thing I did to get ready, I inventoried what I already had for baby. Turns out that we have a ton of baby boy clothes saved. Really I found we didn't NEED anything. However I still wanted to do a few things for this new little one. So I bought a cute dog fabric in a soft blue color to make a new boppy cover since the old one was looking a little worn. And the craziest idea started forming. What if I went back to cloth diapering to save even more money? Hmm...more on that later.

So what's a nesting mother to do in the four months until the new baby comes? Well we do need to reorganize the boys room/homeschool room. And I want to work with my hubby to build some new shelves in an unused closet we have. That should help keep me busy, well you know along with homeschooling, extra curricular activities, and general home management. 


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas rush

It's that perfect time of year. For us here in Ohio the snow is falling and it's full of Christmas bliss.......oh yeah and all the busyness and craziness of this time of year. We spend so much time like everyone else rushing to get things done and stressing ourselves out worrying about deadlines and presents and even homeschooling.

 But my husband was so right when he said last night to me that it will get done, don't worry so much. And slow down and enjoy this season. It's true. Sometimes we get so caught up with doing the next thing that we forget that this is a season when we should really focus on what's important to us. Stop and evaluate if we are doing that.

The truth is that although I haven't done much Christmas shopping yet, I do have a time set up to go and get it done. Unfortunately this year Steve won't be able to go with me since he has been working crazy hours, 7 days a week all this month, but the nice thing is my sister-in-law heard that I was going alone and jumped in and said she would love to go with me!

God answers our busyness in ways that we may not understand or even see until we slow down. I am blessed with a husband who has a great job, even if the hours are long in December. And with a great sister-in-law. He has blessed me with a sewing machine, tons of scrap fabric, and pinterest to help me come up with some really cute presents for those I love.

How is God blessing you in this Christmas season?

Monday, December 09, 2013

Midwife appointment

I had another appointment with the midwife. It went well. The baby is very active! You can hear the kicks and squirms on the doppler as she tries to get the heart beat. And the heart beat was nice and steady in the 160's.

Also I was able to schedule my ultrasound! December 24, which will be a fun day to get the ultrasound done. We have a fun gender reveal that we will be doing for the kids. I am going to buy some cupcakes that are blue frosting or pink frosting and wrap them. Then once we get all the kids together they will get to unwrap the gift, find out if they are getting a brother or sister, and get a delicious treat! Win-win!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Renewing our wedding vows

Renewing wedding vows on an "off" year. It is always a subject that brings up questions. For our 12th wedding anniversary we renewed our wedding vows with a big party and ceremony in our back yard. It is so important to work on your marriage and to show Christ's love to your spouse. The 11th year of our marriage was a really hard year. Close family and friends know all that went on but the important thing is that we drew so much closer together and focused on working through issues and came out on the other side much stronger.

It was a beautiful ceremony that our pastor performed for us. We decided to do both the traditional vows and then we also wrote vows to each other. it was such a special moment that we both needed. I would encourage anyone who wants to reaffirm their vows to go for it!

I worked for a long time trying to come up with cheap ways to make the whole event feel like a backyard wedding and be classy yet fun and laid back. Due to the help of wonderful family and friends it came together beautifully!

Doesn't she look so cute! And I even saved the dress that Savanna wore in our original wedding and that's what Natalia wore. It was really neat to have her wear it. I am hoping some day one of the kids might use it in their wedding for their flower girl.
 I really love this picture of us. It's right after I came outside and Steve saw me all dressed up. His look of awe was perfect! And the fact that my sister caught a picture of us kissing was the best timing.

 It was hard to pin the boys down to get a picture of them and it's one of the things I wish we would have done but this is what us girls looked like all dressed up. My mother-in-love was so sweet and took us to a resale shop and that's where we found the dresses.

 We discussed how to deal with Hayden's one year wiggles and the solution was to let him wonder. We assigned a friend to watch him if he wandered to far but instead it was cute how he went back in forth. He loves being in his daddy's arms so you see him there a lot too.
 My sister-in-love was so sweet and came over and did my hair. I love it!
 Unfortunately we didn't get a picture of the cake in it's full glory but I used a cupcake stand and made cupcakes for the bottom layers and then this small cake for the top. The sad part is the cake fell before we got the picture. Still you can see how nice it looked.

I wish I knew how to flip this picture but this is what we made as a table decoration. The blue mason jars were in a friends basement. We simply printed labels off, added ribbons, rice, little jewels, and a tea light candle. 

I also like that someday when the kids get older we have experience pulling off a cheap but gorgeous backyard wedding. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Family photo shoot

For so long I couldn't stand the idea of new family pictures without MaKayla in them. But after a few years I realized I had to get new pictures done and move on. So when a budding semi-professional friend offered to do our pictures for super cheap I jumped on that idea.

 Steve and I had fun getting our pictures taken too!
 The Boys




                and





                         The Girls.

 Okay so tell me we are not the only weird strange crazy different family. My kids started doing this weird thing one night when we were praying for dinner. I think it started because one of the little ones already had messy hands from starting to eat to early. So one of the big kids said, earlobes and grabbed the earlobes of the siblings beside them. Next thing I know this is becoming a regular joke between them. It's really kinda cute to have funny moments like this in our large family.
                                                It's hard to believe that this guy was only 4                                    when I first met him. It's even harder to believe he
                                   will be graduating this year! But I can say how
                                   proud we are of him. He has already been accepted
                                   to the Culinary Institute of America in New York.
                                   James is a great student and has such an ambition
                                   for cooking! It is a joy to watch him grow and soon
                                   become an adult.
 Savanna is much more of the free spirit kinda girl. If the mood strikes her to get creative she will in a heart beat. She's been this way for as long as I have known her. Even as a little 3 year old when I met her, she was full of energy. She has really found a place she loves at our local joint vocational school and will be right on James' heels, graduating next year. Her goals currently are to join the navy after high school and see the world.







                                          Russell, my first born, has always been a laid
                              back kid. This summer he disappeared after church and                               when we found him it was to discover that he had
                              accepted Jesus into his heart. Oh how wonderful that
                              makes me feel to know my son knows Jesus as his                                     savior. Ever since then he has felt that he should                                         become a missionary or maybe even a pastor. This
                              little guy (who really isn't so little anymore) will be
                              starting high school next year. Where does the time go?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Katerina is Steve and my first child together. Now that she's 8 I think she wants to be a "big kid" more than ever. She is another kid that is full of energy and lots of creativeness. She is my oldest homeschooler and she is constantly keeping me coming back to the Lord for how best to help her learn. She is a natural leader to the younger two kids and such a helper to me.
                                  Natalia is my sweet little 5 year old. Although technically not old enough for public school kindergarten, she was racing through workbooks faster then I could believe and learning to read very easily, so this summer her dad and I decided she would do kindergarten in our homeschool. It has been such a joy to watch her learn. She picks up everything so fast! She's already doing 1st grade math! She is my little snuggle "kitten" (as she puts it) and whenever I sit down she hops into my lap.


 Hayden was my hardest pregnancy, delivery, and my most challenging baby and toddler. At 3 weeks old we discovered he had acid reflux. And although medicine and a diet change for me did help, he still had nights of screaming that seemed to last forever. Now that he is almost 2 I thought we would move on to words, but instead he gets by using baby sign language and grunts mostly. He has graced us with some words but refuses to use them regularly. Yet he is so smart he can grab each family members shoes without them asking! And his little smile is so contagious! It is exciting to watch his fascination with the world around him. And like a lot of boys he loves cars, trains, and construction vehicles!



So this is us, the whole family, including the dog, Winston.