Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Go ahead and say it...I'm crazy!

It's been a crazy weekend. And that's an understatement.

After locking our keys in the van at Walmart on Friday night (read more about that here), we laid low on Saturday. Mainly because it rained or threatened to rain all day. Needless to say Joel did not look at the battery on the truck.

After all the excitement of Friday night and the wiping of three different goopy noses on Saturday, I decided to take a home pregnancy test Saturday night. To our astonishment but pleasure it was positive.

It appears all those jokes I've been making about this being the longest I've gone in 5 years without being pregnant were not entirely accurate.

Our families have been told. Our kids have been told. Will is beyond excited and full of questions as only a four-year-old can be. We are still adjusting to the idea. O! Baby should come late June (by the book) or early July (by past experience times 3).

For those trying to do the math, that will be 4 babies in 5 years, 1+ months. Their ages then will be 5 years, 3.5 years, 22 months. The age spread will be 21 months, 18 months, 22 months.

So if you don't hear from me regularly for a while just assume I'm hugging the toilet or passed out in bed. You can pray that this one is a girl - with Ellie I barely got sick at all. With the boys? It wasn't pretty! And the Lord knows with this gang I can't spend all day in bed, even if I'd like to!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Little Miss Emily

If you are new to Emily's story go here to start at the beginning.

"See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright - but the righteous will live by his faith ... Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights." Habakkuk 2:4;3:17-19.

Hello all,

For the past few weeks we have been telling you all the great strides that Little Miss Emily has been making. She was moved to an Intermediate Care facility yesterday. She practically has her own room now. It is set up so that the parents can spend as much time there as possible. It has a recliner and a long bench to sleep on, but best of all, it has a television with cable and a DVD player.

I had a Men's Breakfast at my church this morning and it was a tremendous success. There was a lot of food and a pretty good turn out. When I got home, Dawn and I decided to try to spend as much time with Emily as possible. We brought a few DVD's and were ready for our nice long visit. We arrived at about 2:00 and she was sleeping (like a baby). We decided to leave her alone and let her sleep without disturbing her. She finally woke up around 2:45 and started to cry. We concluded that she was hungry, seeing meal time was 3:00 and had the nurse give her the food, via the tube.

The meal didn't stop her from crying! As a matter of fact, because of her crying, the meal took and hour to go down. She literally cried for an hour and a half. We did all that we could to calm her, but it was to no avail. Most of the time, it wasn't only Emily that was crying. I don't like to see my girls hurting, but there was nothing I could do.

When we asked the nurse for some suggestions on how to calm her down, she told us it was "neuro." I didn't really know what she meant, but at the same time I did. She was saying that there was nothing that we could do because it was something that is wrong with her. This hurt like a bullet going through the heart. We were devastated! We knew all along that eventually we were going to find out what her limitations were, but we didn't think it was coming this early. The doctor came in to talk to us and let us know there are some drugs that could calm her down without knocking her out. It broke our hearts to do it, but we believe, and know that she is much more comfortable on the drug.

We stayed there long enough for her next meal and she started to fuss as she had the meal before. The nurse gave her the drug and she almost immediately calmed down. She finished her food in half the time as before and remained calm the entire time.

As we were talking to the doctor, we came to realize that although she has eaten a few meals through the bottle, she has not been improving in this area. It has gotten to the point that only the speech therapist is now allowed to try to feed her. This is a major set back. They will try for two weeks to train her to bottle feed, if after two weeks she is unsuccessful, she will get the "G-Tube." Tube going directly into her stomach) As I mentioned, this was a major blow, but one that we were expecting. We had a long talk over dinner about how we can still trust God through the storm. The answer was easy, HE has provided us with everything and HE will continue to provide us with everything! HE knew this was coming and HE has prepared the way before us.

During the Men's Breakfast, I was sharing with the men how God is an amazing God. HE has truly blessed Dawn and I in so many different ways. HE brought us through back surgery, incredible indebtedness, unemployment, and so many other trials; HE will get us through this.

Let me explain to you how faith works. We have trusted God thus far in this trial, but in the back of my mind I know that there are immense medical bills piling up. We have good insurance, but it covers only 80%. That leaves a huge chunk for us to cover. I brought this to my pastor and asked him to keep us in prayer. Last week after service the pastor took up a special offering for Dawn and I. This was not my request, but he did it on his own. It came to almost $2000! The other day a friend of ours felt that she was to give us some money. We didn't ask for it, she just volunteered to give it to us, no strings attached. The amount...$1000. Last night, Dawn was reading through our insurance policy and there is a cap on the amount we have to pay out of pocket. Can you guess how much?...


We have a God who provides; that's how we can have the faith to know that we will make it though this storm in our lives. I have given my life to serving God and HE has blessed me beyond measure. It is my wish that all who read this email come to know God in the same way, so that HE may bless you as HE has blessed me. Some people may see this trial as a curse. "God is punishing you by giving you a child who is not healthy." To them I say, what child is not a blessing to their parents! I AM blessed beyond measure.

I mourn for what I will not have with my daughter, but I rejoice that I was blessed with a daughter to begin with!

Please continue to pray that Emily continues to get stronger so that she can come home soon. That is our biggest struggle, having to leave her every day. I also ask those of you who already have a personal relationship with Christ to pray for those who read this email and don't know HIM. Pray for hearts to be softened and eyes to be opened.

I thank you all for your prayers and love,


Eph 2:4-7

What do we do all day?

Back at the beginning of the month my friend, Charity (you will find her at Cardiff Central), sent an email asking what the kids and I do all day. She also asked about any good websites. Well, me being the slacker that I am, I have never answered her questions. (Sorry, Charity!) I've decided just to do a post about it. Keep in mind my kids are currently 4 + years, 2.5 years, & 14 months old.

First let me say I am trying to be more disciplined about scheduling our activities. It's slow work. By schedule I don't mean going by a clock. In fact, God showed me last week that I put too much pressure on myself and my chickadees to follow a clock. If 10 am comes and some of us are still in pajamas and beds aren't made what difference does it make?

Back during the summer I bought a great book, Managers of Their Homes: A Practical Guide to Daily Scheduling for Christian Homeschool Families, about this very topic. I made a schedule but it has never really worked for us. Trying to make my children follow the schedule had me frustrated, aggravated and angry. Totally not the purpose. After prayer God showed me I was trying to use too many good ideas in my schedule and to relax and stick with the basics.

Just getting everyone dressed, beds made, and teeth brushed takes at least an hour in the morning for me. Remember my little troop requires a lot of my help. I try to send the boys outside to play when weather permits. Our backyard is completely fenced in and they have all manner of fun toys back there. This helps me a lot! When they are outside I do housework or computer time.

Rest time in non-negotiable around here. At one o'clock all three go to bed. The 2 little ones sleep for about 2 hours. Will lays on my bed (the boys share a room) and listens to Adventures in Odyssey cd's or reads books for an hour. It has taken a lot of training (and spankings) for everyone to learn they must stay in bed during this time. I really need that hour to recharge (and so do they).

The nice thing is I also have an hour alone with Will. Sometimes we read books together. For a while I read a chapter book to him. I really need to get back to that. We have also cooked together (remember the Apple Pie?). I learned after one attempt that I can't cook with both boys. My kitchen isn't big enough for separate work spaces and they compete and argue over who gets to do what. Sometimes we each work on our computers. We have an old laptop that has Wordpad and Paint. Will likes to "type" and draw on it.

We all do a lot of coloring. Plain paper & crayons are my friends. So are coloring books, scissors, glue sticks and play dough. The boys like to cut so I give them paper and let them go crazy. I have been working more with Will by drawing lines on the paper and having him cut on the lines. I've also been giving them catalogs to cut.

My recent discovery was the dollar store. I got tons of foam animal stickers, foam paper, foam beads, water color paint sets, and regular stickers for very little money.

My kids do well playing independently but it has taken a lot of training on my part (ie. ignoring the wailing and gnashing of teeth). Like now Ellie gets gated in her room by herself to play while I wash dishes or some other housework. I did the same with the boys and now they will play alone or with each other pretty well.

Here are some websites I like for coloring pages, games and activities: First-School Preschool Activities, Kids Answers, Preschool Activities, Preschool Printables, Simply Charlotte Mason, Teaching Mom.

I hope I answered your questions, Charity. We are a work in progress around here. Nothing is hard and fast (other than nap time). I'm always trying new things. I guess that's just part of being a momma.

Friday, October 26, 2007

If it ain't one thing, it's another.

The day started off normal enough. Kids eating breakfast. Joel getting ready for work. Me trying to clear the brain fog so I could get going.

All three kids woke up with drippy noses. Ugh. We had a play date scheduled at a new McDonald's for 11 am. I evaluated the drips and decided the time with friends would be worth exposing all the other kids to whatever cold bugs my gang is carrying.

Oh, yes. I am one of THOSE mom's. Lest you judge me too quickly, it's been raining for 3 days. THREE DAYS! That means my boys are climbing the walls around here and so am I. Besides, if I stay home every time one of my 3 has the sniffles I will never go anywhere from October to May. And that just ain't happening people! My advice to you? Carry lots of GermX with you.

Anyway. Back to the morning.

Joel tried to remote start his truck, which I lovingly refer to as "The Behemoth." It's a 1996 GMC Sierra EXTEND CAB with a full size bed. It's big. And NOT fun for me to drive. Joel loves using his remote start on cool mornings so the truck is warm when he gets in. Well, the remote start wouldn't work.

He walked outside and started the truck. It started OK but the clock needed to be reset. Which meant the battery or alternator is fritzing again. He didn't want to risk it NOT starting after work so we decided I (and the 3 kids) would take him to work today.

That's not TOO bad. His office is only a 15-20 minute drive during rush hour time. So we dropped him off and flew home to finish breakfast and get ready for our play date.

The kids had tons of fun playing with their friends in the new indoor playground. I was very impressed (except for the 2 video bicycle games they have the little guys aren't allowed on. Who thought that was a good idea?! And the McDonald's worker who appears to be in charge of supervising the play area. I really hate it when someone like that gets on to my kids for just being kids!). Three hours later we drove home for some semblance of a nap.

At 4:30 Joel called to say his boss was letting them go home early. Yippee!! I loaded up the kids and we picked up Daddy. On the way home I decided to run by Walmart and pick up some cold medicine so my children could sleep tonight. No big deal. The store isn't even out of the way. I ran into the store leaving Joel and the kids in the van. When I came out, they were gone. I correctly assumed Will needed to go to the potty and walked back into the store.

After finding my gang we trooped back to the van. Only to discover that the keys were locked in the van. Oh, yes. They were. I left the keys in the ignition so Joel could listen to music or adjust the temperature. He did not realize this so had neglected to take the keys with him into the store.

There we stood in the parking lot. No diaper bag. No jackets. No stroller. And boys hopping all over the place. Thirty minutes after calling taxicabs and friends we were still stuck at Walmart. Can you believe Joel called half a dozen cabs and NONE would come pick us up! We briefly discussed calling AAA but past experience with them left me waiting for at least an hour.

So, Joel hoofed it home. That's 3.23 miles (according to Mapquest). Across several major intersections. Down a busy street. He's never been so glad we live close to Walmart. We were both glad the rain stopped last night and most of the mud was gone. AND that tonight was only cool instead of cold.

After getting home he let himself in the house (he has his desk key and house key on the same key chain!) he grabbed the truck keys and called me on the cell phone. While he enjoyed the brisk walk home, it took an hour, the kids and I ate supper at Subway in Walmart.

Then we walked next door to a Mall. The Mall is mostly dead. There are only about a dozen stores still open. It's a fantastic place to take small children in the winter so they can run and holler and no one will give you dirty looks.

After three tries Joel managed to get the truck started. He quickly drove to the Mall, gave me keys for the van and drove back home again. We all finally made it home after 7:30! UGH!

Needless say, my poor sweet husband is tired. And now he has to figure out what to do about the truck. The children? They have been medicated and hopefully will sleep like babies until 8 am. Hopefully we'll ALL sleep like babies! After a day like today we deserve it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Emily Passes Test!!

Hi, if you aren't familiar with Baby Emily you can go here to start her story. The following is the email her daddy, Mike, sent out this morning. Keep praying, Ladies!

Hey y'all,

Emily had one of her final tests on Tuesday and passed with flying colors. It was a swallow test to make sure she could eat without food going into her lungs. Because she passed, it means two things...first, she can eat through a bottle, second, she is one step closer to coming home. She gets very tired eating through a bottle, so some of the food has to be fed through her feeding tube.

As soon as she can eat all her meals through a bottle, she can most likely come home. This may take days or a week, we are unsure. We tried two bottles yesterday with no success. It is a slow process.

Many of you have asked for here are some of "my girls."

I have to go to work, so that's all I have time for.

Thanks for all your prayers and support,

Eph 2:4-7

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Another One!!

At least he is much smaller than the other one!! I think he must be new because the last one coulda eat this one for lunch! I'm hoping there aren't any more! But at least they live in the garage and not the house!!

Out with the Old, In with the New

Here are pictures of the latest house project debacle. Go here to refresh your memory as to what this is all about. Also, my husband has a pretty funny description from his perspective here.
Good-bye ugly, stained sink.
How about that tacky floor? Ugh!

Cruisin' the aisles at Lowe's.
The infamous too-small hole.
Can you see why I want new counters? I like the cabinets though.
My shiny new sink & faucet.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Emily Update #3

Thank you everyone for praying for Baby Emily. I received the following email from her momma, Dawn. The "tomorrow" she refers to is actually "today," Tuesday.

Love, Stephanie

Hello all,

This is Dawn, not Mike. I have received several emails
saying "we hear from Mike, but how are YOU doing?". So I thought it would be a
good idea for me to send the update this time around.

I am doing well. My recovery is moving along smoothly. I certainly
did not plan to be out and about as much as I have been. The biggest
challenge has been taking the time to rest and do what I need to do to recover
while running back and forth to the hospital to spend time with Emily.
That has been a tough balance at times. I want to spend as much time as
possible with Emily, but taking care of me is the best gift that I can give
her. So please pray for me as I try to find the right balance.

Second, Emily is doing great! She has been such a blessing
to us – I cannot even begin to describe it to you. We know that she will
have challenges ahead of her, but she has shown us that she is a fighter and we
are so thankful. We have not sent an update in about a week, so bear with
me while I brag on my little girl for a bit...

She is absolutely adorable (in my completely unbiased opinion)! Each day she does something new. It is SO amazing to watch her. We count it a privilege to be
parents to such an amazing little girl. I know in Mike’s last email, he
mentioned that she cried for the first time. Well, she has really gotten
the hang of crying & does it every single day. She likes to let us
know when she is not happy! And that is wonderful. Twice this week,
Mike and I were able to give her a sponge bath. And both times she cried
and screamed as if we were beating her with sticks. She gets bright red,
scrunches her entire face & just screams. It is wonderful to hear her
expressing herself (maybe in a few months we may not think the crying is so
great, but for now, we are thrilled).

This week she began working with a speech therapist. The therapist works with her on her sucking, swallowing and her gag reflex. The first day she did this,
Emily cried for an hour after the therapist left – apparently she does not like
to be gagged repeatedly (who would?). But each day has gotten
better. She has started to like her pacifier and actually is soothed by
sucking on it (at times). Tomorrow she will have a swallow study
done. The therapist will give her liquids of varying consistencies and
then x-ray her to see where they go (into her lungs or into her
esophagus). This is a very important study. If it goes well, she can
move to bottle feedings and eventually to nursing. This means she can have
her feeding tube removed. Speaking of feedings, each day they have
increased the amount she eats. She is currently eating 57 cc’s every 3
hours. By the time we take her home, she is going to be a
porker! At her last weigh in that we witnessed she was 9 lbs. 8

Yesterday and today, Emily made some great progress.
Yesterday, she was moved to a crib rather than the bed with a warmer – so she is
able to hold her own body temperature now. And she also went off her
oxygen. She has given the nurses a couple of scares where her oxygen
levels dropped low, but then she brings them back up again. This too, will
get better with time. And today, she was taken off one of her seizure
medications - the one that makes her really sleepy. So as this gets out of
her system, we will be able to see more and more of her personality (she seems
to be a feisty one, so that should be interesting!). And the doctor told
me that she will be moving tonight to an intermediate section of the NICU – as
the doctor said “this is one step closer to the door”. So Mike and I are
hopeful that she will get to come home soon.

The nurses
allow us to do more and more which has been wonderful. We have been able
to change diapers, bathe her and take her temperature and a few other
things. It makes us feel like we are doing something to care for our
daughter. I cannot begin to describe to you what a blessing Emily has been
to us. She amazes us every single day. This experience has been
amazing. No, it isn’t the way we expected things to go, but it is exactly
the way that God had planned. I have clung to Psalm 139

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My
frame was not hidden from you when I was
made in the secret place. When I was woven
together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed
body. All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Emily is perfect in God’s eyes. She is exactly the way that
God wants her to be. She was knit together in my womb by God
Himself. He knows exactly who she will be and how many days she will have
on this earth. And I am thankful that He has counted us worthy of being
her parents. We do ask that you continue to pray for her as she
grows. And pray that we will be the parents that she needs us to be
– that God intended us to be. We have received countless emails from
people who are praying for us & I cannot tell you what it means to us.
There is incredible power in prayer!

Thank you for the
overwhelming love and support that we have received from many of you. It
has sustained us in those times when we think we can't go on. And yes
we do have those times, but God is faithful. It is only through His
strength that we get through each day. We could NOT do it on our
own. We trust that He will be with us every step of the way and we take
great comfort in that.

In HIS strength,


Monday, October 22, 2007

Quote of the Day. 10.22.07

"Can I pray to God to give us a cow?" - William, age 4.

A conversation I heard through the open window shortly before this question.

Will: "Why are you bringing that bucket outside? To milk a cow?"
Ben: "Yeth." (Yes)
Will: "We don't have any cows."
Ben: "I haf cowth in my back ward (backyard)."

Maybe we should lay off the farm animal library books for awhile. Ya think?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Here We Go Again

Murphy lives at my house. His laws always rule. You know like "if something can go wrong it will." In our case, "the more simple a house project appears the more difficult it will become."

House projects are just never simple for us (and by that "us" I totally mean JOEL). Case in point, the Plumbing Debacle of Summer '07. This time around it's plumbing, again.

Yesterday Joel decided to work on my kitchen faucet. For the last month the faucet has become more and more difficult to swivel. It's really been a pain when I wash dishes. By the way, I do not have a dish washer and only have a single basin sink. So I need the faucet to swivel.

My sweet husband picked yesterday afternoon to try and fix it for me. We both thought it would be simple. Loosen a screw or a nut. Maybe replace some kind of washer or something in side the faucet and we'd be all set. He set about trying to take the faucet apart. I'll spare you the blow-by-blow account and just say he couldn't get the faucet to disconnect from the sink because he couldn't get a good angle on a screw or something. The solution was to take the whole sink out.

"Hey!," said me, "since you're taking the sink out, which I totally hate, how about we run to Lowe's and pick up a beautiful stainless steel sink to go back in?" It SOUNDED simple. Pull out the old cast iron enamel (which was worn and stained on the inside). Drop in a sparkly stainless steel sink. And hook up a new faucet since the old one wasn't salvageable.

After we bought the sink & faucet I dropped Joel off at home and took the kids to McDonald's to eat supper and play. We HOPED at least the sink would be installed when I returned. Not only was the sink NOT installed, there was sawdust everywhere! The short version is the new sink needed a bigger hole so Joel had to cut, saw and chisel away at the hole in the counter. After all that, the sink still wouldn't fit because it has these clippy deals (how's that for technical terms?) that fasten the sink to the counter and our counter is thicker than the clips.

All that to say, I currently have no kitchen sink and my hubby is working hard to solve this problem. I've suggested that we go buy a new counter top while we're at it but that idea was not met with enthusiasm, as you can well imagine. When the whole thing is finished I'll post some pictures for you to see. Wish me luck on that new counter top! = )

Friday, October 19, 2007

Orchard Fun

For nearly two weeks I've intended to post about our 2nd Annual Columbus Day Apple Picking Church Outing. How's that title for you? I just made it up myself. Anyway... The Outing consisted of our family, A2 & M2, and a bunch of college students from our church. Let's just say it's all about the fun!

Here's Joel, Ellie, Will, and Ben. We're still working on learning to smile for the camera. Aren't they all cute in their overalls? You can't tell here but all the menfolk also have on matching work boots.
Daddy gave Ellie an apple to munch on after we arrived. She munched and munched.
Will and Micah. Don't you love the rain boots! Look at Will with his thumbs hooked in his "farmer jeans." Just like a Uncle Stephen, a real farmer. = )
Try to enlarge and take a look at the expression on Ellie's face. Too cute!

Still munching on that apple!

Don't they look like farmers inspecting their field! Notice the apple.
Apple picking, best friends, AND A BACKHOE!! Will looks very intent on inspecting the equipment. = )
Mia's favorite part is the apple eating. She picks to eat.
Like Father like Daughter.
Does anyone else think this looks like a cell phone advertisement? Or just trouble waiting to happen? Mia's still eating. = )
It's going over the fence! Look at Micah's face. Makes me smile every time I see this picture.
Now she has TWO apples. And they both have bites in them.
My family. Can you tell the boys didn't want to stand still for a picture?

Does Soft Soap come in chocolate flavor?

Ellie is 13 months old. My how time flies! She has teethed sooner, crawled sooner, climbed sooner, & walked sooner than her brothers. And she talks a lot more than they did. That may be because she is a girl. And her mother's daughter. = )

Currently her list of words include: ma!, mama, da!, dadadada, buh (brother), YUM!, baa (as in sheep), and last but not least uh.

I hear "uh" the most. It has many meanings. "Uuuuhhhh!!!!!" That means "he's bothering me, make him stop." I hear that one a lot! Then there's "UUUhhh!" "That means I've climbed up on something and now I can't get off. I'm stuck. Come get me."

I heard that last one a couple of mornings ago. The boys and I were in their room changing their clothes and making their beds. It finally sunk into my conscious mind that Ellie was calling her "stuck" word. Naturally I went in search of where she'd gotten herself this time.

I found Ellie sitting on a toilet. I didn't even know she could climb up there without a stool. Thankfully the lid was down! Anyway, there she sat with the hand soap bottle between both hands and the spout in her mouth. When she saw me a grin grew from ear-to-ear and she proudly announced, "YUM!"

I guess anything tastes good after eating crumbs and dried up food off the floor.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What's in a name?

I've had a couple of fun emails about names. It's got me thinking about fun & interesting name tidbits in my life. I've already explained in the previous post (or here) about my brother and I having the same initials. Here are a couple of other fun things.

1. My mom & mother-in-law have the same name: Linda Kay. How crazy is that?!
2. My brother is the 3rd generation (at least) Lee. Just one more reason why my niece will have that name.
3. One year in college there were four girls in our dorm suite (two bedrooms shared a bathroom and living room area). S. Smith & Shayna S. roomed together. Stephanie R. & R. Smith roomed together. How fun is that?! = )
4. All three of my children have names that traditionally use nicknames that start with "B." William - Bill (we use Will), Benjamin - Ben and Elisabeth - Beth (we use Ellie).
5. One of my dad's cousins also married a Linda. It got confusing at family gatherings to have TWO Linda R.
6. I had a cousin named Jennifer R. (until she got married). My brother married a Jennifer. Thankfully they each go by different nicknames.

Now that I've filled your heads with completely useless information I'll let you go....Oh! One more thing. In our family birthday months are always shared.
January: my dad & my mom's dad
May: my brother, my husband, & Will
June: my mom & my dad's mom
August: my mother-in-law, Joel's grandmother, & Ellie
November: my brother's wife, me

Poor Ben is stuck out in February all by himself... I wonder who will join our family one day with a birthday in February? = )

OK. That's enough useless trivia about Stephanie. Do you have any useless trivia like this in your family? Please share. I love hearing about this kind of stuff! = )

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It's a.....

Girl!!! I'm going to be an aunt (again) to a little girl!! Yippee! And Ellie will have a playmate when we visit Arkansas. Yeah!

Stephen & Jennifer aren't set yet on a name. They have one they are leaning towards but aren't a hundred percent yet so I won't put it. Other than the middle name. That will be Lee. Stephen & Jennifer (my brother & his wife) both have "Lee" for middle names. So it's pretty much a given this baby will also.

Did you notice that my brother's name is "Stephen?" Yep. It gets even cuter when you know I'm Stephanie Linda and he's Stephen Lee. Yes, we had the exact same initials until I got married.

I've always thought sibling names like that are cute. Like our friends' children, Micah and Mia. I couldn't do that though. "William" is a family name. My little guy is, I think, the 5th generation to bear the name. How could I not use it?! But to name my daughter "Wilhelmina" would have been going to far. No offense to anyone!

Which reminds me. My cousin is also pregnant and due in January, I think. Anyway. They received so much unsolicited name advice and comments from family members after they named their first daughter that for this one they are telling everyone the baby will be named after my cousin's husband (William Joseph). The baby's name...wait for it...Wilhelmina Josephina. I love it! And all the family, specifically their parents, believe them! Isn't that great? No matter what name they say after the delivery the grandparents are going to love it. = ) Again, no offense to any Wilhelmina Josephina's out there. But ya know, it really is quite a mouth full.

Well, I'm rambling again and my hubby is waiting to pray together so I better get off. Can you tell I'm a little keyed up tonight?

One more prayer request.

*** Updated to add: Linda will not be traveling to the States after all. She is unable to get any flights to arrive before the funeral. Please pray for comfort from the God of All Comforts.

Let me just say today's e-mails have not been easy! First there was the one about Emily (Thank you all for praying, by the way. For those who left comments I e-mailed Mike about them and can see from my Statcounter that he's looked at them). Then we received news that one of my mother-in-law's sisters died during the night.

We'd appreciate your prayers. Specifically, comfort for my mother-in-law, Linda, and her remaining sister. They lost another sister last year. Also, pray for travel safety, luggage arrival, flight connections, etc. Linda is coming in alone from overseas and if you know anything about international travel you know how crazy it can be.

Joel & I will not be able to attend the funeral which will probably be in the Houston area. But my sister-in-law, Lara, plans to go with Linda. That is Lara and Baby Susanna plan to go. Baby Susanna is about 5 months old and I have no doubt will be receiving lots of hugs and kisses from Grammy. Three generations of women traveling to celebrate the life of one of their own.

If Mike's e-mail in the post below (or here) doesn't cause you to praise God then head over to Joel's post. I warn you he's wordy but it's all good. Maybe cause it's lots of scripture and all about the GOOD God.

Last but not least, and on an up-note, I am awaiting a phone call from my other sister-in-law (I have two: Joel's sis and my brother's wife). Today Jennifer had a regular mid-pregnancy ultrasound. They decided to find out if the baby is a girl or boy and are supposed to call to tell us. You know I'll be calling her before it gets too late tonight if she forgets about us!! = )

I'm hoping for a girl. Ellie needs another girl cousin. Though a boy would be just fine. For passing on the family name and all that stuff. = ) That's very important down South. Here's a little family tidbit that has no eternal value but since I'm rambling I'll throw it in. My paternal Grandpa had 4 sons. Of those sons, only my Dad has a son to pass on the family name. So you can understand why we are all itching to know what this baby is.

Plus, I saw some Land's End clothes drastically marked down at Sears the other night. If it's a girl I will have to go back tomorrow to see if they are still there. = )

Emily Update #2

This e-mail came last night.

Hello y'all,

I would like to tell you all we greatly appreciate all the emails, prayers and love that have been sent our way over the past week. To say the least it has been physically and emotionally exhausting. Our God is a big God and has us in the palm of His hand. We know He is not only watching over us, but strengthening us with every breathe.

As we were waiting for the doctors to come in and give us the news, we had some time to play with Emily. One of the nurses was giving her her medications and she wasn't too happy about it. She began to cry! This is the first time that she has done this since she was born. We saw this as a great thing and never thought we would be so happy to hear a baby cry.

The results from the tests were as expected. She has brain damage (cerebral palsy) and it could be pretty bad. It is the result of a loss of oxygen to the brain while in the womb. The brain takes the oxygen it gets and puts it in the areas where it is needed most. This includes all the major functions the body does, like breathing and keeping the heart beating. In order to do this, it has to deprive the other parts of the brain of oxygen. These are the parts that handle motor functions and learning. So, the worst case scenario, she could be permanently debilitated, the best case scenario, she will be a slow starter, but have normal functions.

As I mentioned, our God is a BIG God and has all things under His control. If He chooses to heal her, He will do it and we will give Him the glory and honor He deserves. If He chooses to make her totally dependant on her parents for everything from eating to going to the bathroom, we are ready to accept that and we will also give HIM ALL THE GLORY. He has a perfect plan for our lives, and as I mentioned in my last emails, we are blessed because He counted us worthy to be blessed with a child that is dependant on us as we are to be dependant on Him.

We covet your prayers and we can assure you that God hears them. There have been so many things that she has done already that show us she is a fighter and will prevail. Even though we have a great attitude and we have total faith is an all powerful God, it is still hard on us emotionally and physically, so continue to pray that He strengthens us and guides us through each day.

The biggest struggles are ahead of us, but we will take each day as it comes. We don't know what the future brings, but we do know that as long as we remain faithful, He will provide all our needs according to His riches in Glory!

Emily will remain in the NICU for at least two more weeks, if not much longer. She does not have a gag reflex which means that she can't swallow. She is currently being fed through a tube and this will continue until either she develops this skill or there is a feeding tube permanently installed. She will have several therapists (Speech and physical) to help her overcome the obstacles that face her. She is also bathed in prayer and the love of friends and family.

As you pray today, and as you hold your own children with a greater thankfulness for their health, know that we are in good hands and God won't give us anything that we can't handle. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit that fills us because we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and have given every ounce of our hearts to Him to hold onto and to take care of. Ever since we left RI
[Rhode Island] to come to Kentucky, it has been our little saying, "Wherever He leads, we'll go." I must admit that this is a road that I didn't know existed, but we are willing to follow Him down it all the same.

Today they had to shave some of Emily's hair to put an IV in her head, so I won't be sending any pictures with this email. Instead, I am attaching the words of a new song by Casting Crowns. The song is on Christian Radio and the CD comes out in November. I recommend everyone reading this to get this CD when it comes out. I know I will be there the day it hits the stores. The name of the song is "Praise You in This Storm." Enjoy it! The words don't do the song justice, but when you read the words, you will understand the beauty of what is being said.

May God watch over you all as you continue to pray and bless Dawn and I with your love and friendship!

Glorifying HIM!!!


Praise You In This Storm

I was sure by now
God you would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as You mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will life my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry
You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can’t find You

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Battery Whiting, Beavertail Lighthouse

Our family enjoys activities that combine nature and history (well, the grown-ups do and plan to indoctrinate the little ones as they grow). Beavertail does just that. If you take the time to walk further up from the lighthouse you find Battery Whiting. There are 2 partially buried "buildings" and the spots where giant guns used to sit.

Please forgive my non-technical terms. I have very little military knowledge.

Sadly, these buildings have been blocked up. I understand the decision but as a historian I sure hate to see it.

Battery Whiting was built during World War II to guard the entrance into Narragansett Bay and the Naval base at Newport. Go here, or here, or here if you want to read more detailed information, including pictures.

Emily Update

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for praying for my friends, Mike & Dawn, and their baby girl, Emily. Rather than try to summarize I'm just going to paste in Mike's e-mail. It was written last night so when he refers to "tomorrow" he's talking about today, Tuesday.

"Today was a good day! I got to wash Emily's hair and change her diaper! It was only wet, there was no poop and I was pretty excited about that. After she got her hair washed, she woke up. We have not really seen her with her eyes open, but tonight she was wide awake and looking around. After her bath, the nurse put her in a dress. We got a picture and it will be attached.

Today she had her MRI and EEG. Sometime tonight they are also going to give her a spinal tap. Tomorrow, hopefully, we will get to sit down with the doctor and discuss what happened and where we go from here. She seems to be doing better as time goes on, but there is still so much uncertainty.

I hope to have more answers tomorrow, so continue to pray that the doctors make the correct diagnosis and course of treatment. Know that we appreciate all your emails, prayers and support and God is on our side! She is doing better every day and we are just excited to be able to spend some quality time with her."

Thanks again for praying. Mike & Dawn appreciate all prayers and understand their value. Now for the picture. Isn't she adorable?!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Emily Rose

Let me introduce you to a sweetheart, Emily Rose.

Emily is the firstborn of our friends Mike & Dawn. After a difficult labor and delivery, Emily entered the world on October 1oth weighing in at 8 pounds 11 ounces.

Please pray for Emily & her mommy and daddy. Not long after birth she began to have seizures and is currently in a NICU at a Chilren's Hospital. I'm not sure of exact prayer needs but I think breathing completely on her own, the seizures to go away, and Dawn's recovery from delivery are pretty high on the list. Thanks a bunch.

Now ladies, I dare you to look at these pictures and not want another baby! = )

Beavertail Lighthouse, Again.

Tidepools, fish & a picnic. Let me assure you they are further from the waves than these pictures look like. And the tidepools aren't very deep either, maybe 12 inches.

The Answer is...

Beavertail Lighthouse on Conanicut Island (that's Jamestown, Rhode Island if you are ever interested in visiting).

This is one of our favorite Rhode Island spots. We enjoy climbing on the rocks, watching the seagulls, and looking in tidepools (or "water beds" as Will calls them). And it's all free!

Saturday morning we packed a picnic lunch and drove South. After finding a parking spot, we chased butterflies across a grassy field. By we, I mean the boys. Monarchs fluttered everywhere. The boys never managed to catch one though not for lack of trying. They also chased seagulls who were smart enough to stay just out of reach.

After pausing to watch a low-flying helicopter we climbed down the rocks in the front of the lighthouse to look in tidepools. Climbing is second nature for my boys so they had no difficulty making their way to the water. Will was all for jumping in for a swim. We managed to convince him the water at this time of year is very cold.

In the tidepools we watch, and touched, snails, seaweed, and shells. As we made our way around the rocks we came to a small group of fishermen. One fisherman availed himself of a narrow tidepool to keep his catch alive until he was ready to leave. Large and living fish in a tidepool elicited tons of questions from both boys. I have no idea what kind of fish they were but the boys sure enjoyed watching them.

I have more to say about an old battery and a wedding we witnessed but I'll do that in another post. As well as more pictures. = )

Saturday, October 13, 2007


...where we went today. Here's a hint: we drove South but never left Rhode Island.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Just call me Super Momma

A couple of weeks ago we rearranged the car seat configuration in the van. The boys had been in the back and Ellie was in the center. We switched them. I've since decided this configuration isn't nearly as convenient but the boys can now see out better and enjoy being in the middle. I'm not sure how long it's going to last.

One of the things they are able to see now is stop lights. We had to explain about green means go, yellow means slow down and stop, and red means stop.

Tonight on the way home Ben announced, "I made de wight change gween." By the way, both boys are convinced they have super hero powers. Will often mentions "when I learn to fly." Back to the current story. I asked Ben how he turned the light green. "I cwosed my two eyes. When I opened my eyes it twuned gween!

As we neared the next stop light (there are only 6 or 8 lights between our house and Sears) I remembered back to when I was a little girl. My dad convinced me he had the power to change stop lights green. With only the snap of his fingers! Whoa....! So at the next light I declared myself to have the power and snapped my fingers. Sure enough the light changed green. My boys were very impressed with momma.

It only stands to reason that the momma of little super heroes should have a super power herself. If only I could figure out the super power for making chocolate appear anytime I wanted some. Now that would be a really useful power to have!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Father-Son Talks

Topic for discussion? Joel's mustache. Aren't they cute?

Quote of the Day, 10.20.07

At supper a few nights ago we began to discuss Christmas with the boys. Will declared that he needs to write his Christmas list. My parents are coming for Thanksgiving and have been asking for a list so we can open presents when they are here. Anyway....

I asked Will, "What do we celebrate at Christmas?"


I think I've got more explaining to do!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Introducing... Alicia at Experiencing Each Moment

Let me introduce you to my friend, Alicia. She's at Experiencing Each Moment.

You know those friends that you go forever without seeing or talking to and then one day you meet up and it's like you just talked the day before? Alicia is one of those kind of friends for me.

I've known her since the first day I moved into a dorm at Ouachita Baptist University over 14 years ago. Wow! I can't believe it's been that long! She was my R.A. (resident assistant) that year. I remember when I checked into the dorm and she figured out I was on her hall she gave me a huge hug. We had a lot of fun that year. Our rooms were right next door and she had a t.v. and a car. = ) Alicia, do you remember our Anne of Green Gables marathon on parents weekend? = )

Over the years we've fallen into and out of each other's lives lots of times. The last 5 years we've been more in than out. Being pregnant with our first children at the same time and emailing constantly about our symptoms, subsequent c-sections, and parenting challenges might be a big reason for staying connected now.

Recently Alicia started her own blog. Today she has a great post about a marriage conference she and her husband, Dan, attended over the weekend. Go here to read some convicting and encouraging ideas about making marriage work.

Before you leave, do you have a friend you can go weeks, months or years without communicating with and then pick up again like you were never apart? What's her name? Where did you meet? How long have you known each other? I'd love to hear your story in the comments.

O.k., now go check out Alicia. = )


...where we went today. Here's a hint: we never left Rhode Island.

First a skunk and now this.

If you had been at my house on Saturday afternoon here's what you would have heard.

"Got one!!!"
"Got one, what?"
"A mouse. Come see."

EWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! O MY GOODNESS!!!! EWW!!! EWWW!!!

EWWWWWW!!!! That thing is huge!! I've never seen a mouse that big before!!! EWWW!!! EWW!!! EWW!!!!!

The following picture (which does not do justice to the size of the mouse) is not for the squemish. Needless to say more traps were set after Joel deposited this guy, trap and all, into a trash bag and then into the garbage can.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye

Today we said good-bye to our television and d.v.d player and gave them to a college student from our church. Sigh... It's for real. We are really now one of those strange and weird families who not only doesn't watch t.v. but doesn't even own one.

Even though Joel made this decision two weeks ago and immediately unplugged the t.v. it feels a little different when the t.v. is out of the house. I confess while it sat in the basement I had thoughts of plugging it in, especially on days when the kiddos were driving me up a wall.

For clarification purposes let me say we do not believe televisions, DVD players or VCRs are evil. Nor is watching them a sin. Though it can be. Yes, there is some decent programing out there. And decent videos you can buy. But you have to search pretty hard to find it. Even some children's programming has questionable elements in it (I recently saw an episode of "Arthur" with a crystal ball ceremony!!).

In fact, we have kept our two portable DVD players and all of our videos. We also have our VCR, mainly so we can copy our camcorder tapes on to large tapes for family members.

It remains to be seen what we will do when we stay in hotels. But for all my friends who occasionally have my children in their homes, yes, they are allowed to watch t.v. at your house. And to my family, yes, we will watch t.v. when we are at your homes.

I keep trying to write more to explain our decision but it keeps sounding preachy so I'll just end it here. If you want to know more, feel free to ask. I don't mind talking about it. And no, I'm not judging you for owning and watching t.v. Obviously, if I think our choice is a good one for our family then I think other families would benefit from the same choice. But that's between you and the Holy Spirit.

P.s. Can you name the movie I stole my title from?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Fraud Alert

Identity theft is becoming a real issue these days. We have no idea how much of our personal information floats around in cyberspace. There's legitimate processing of our data, like doctors offices, or banks, or employers. Then there's the illegal scams, called "phishing." We've dealt with both types.

We were "phished" last year. Someone called from "XYZ" credit card company, we used that company at the time, claiming they needed personal information to confirm our security for an audit. It sounded kind of "phishy" to me. (Hee! Hee!) For the record, credit card companies DO NOT call you asking for information! I told the guy I couldn't give him the info he wanted and he got off the phone quick.

I then called "XYZ" credit card company to find out if they had in fact called me. Not only had they NOT called me, they didn't even have our current phone number on file. Their customer service then walked me through putting a "Fraud Alert" on the account.

"Fraud Alert" goes on your credit report for a certain period of time (I don't remember how long). It makes opening new lines of credit (credit cards, loans, mortgages) more difficult. It also alerts the specific account to watch for unusual activity.

In fact, a few months after this, "XYZ" credit card company did call me for a security check. We rarely used this card. We'd go months without using it. So a relatively small gas purchase triggered the company to call and make sure we were the ones using the card. I appreciated their watchfulness.

That is my experience with the illegal side. Now to the "legal" side of identity theft. Last week Joel's employer (a large national Informational Services company) informed us that a laptop had been stolen from an employee in Human Resources. An employee currently working on changes to the benefits and paycheck system. For testing purposes the personal information of many (we know at least hundreds and guess it's a lot more than that!) employees had been stored on the computer. Personal information like full names, addresses, phone numbers, SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS, birth dates. Even salaries!

The laptop was password protected but not encrypted. An over site that seems ridiculous for an Information Services company. Joel tells me if the thief is the least bit computer savvy he can pull the hard drive and easily access the information on there.

Joel's employer kindly offered (for FREE!) memberships to a credit monitoring service for a year. Needless to say, Joel signed up for the service and we will be watching his credit report closely this year. That's all we can do. Truth be told, I'm a little annoyed and frustrated by the whole thing.

Even if you don't need a fraud alert, you should check out once a year for your free credit report. It's always a good idea to make sure your credit report is accurate BEFORE you need to borrow money. Especially since it can take awhile to correct errors.

Monday, October 1, 2007


If you haven't checked out the blogs on my side bar, you really should. Especially the blogs under the "Real Life Friends" heading.

Today I want to introduce you to one of my friends. You'll find Julie at "Homegrown Blessings." I know Julie through our previous church. She has three children and is a homeschool mom.

Go by Homegrown Blessings and read this post. Here's a quote to whet your appetite. "So I think I need to start asking myself this question: Would I rather be involved in God's wonderful plan, or stand on the sidelines critiquing Him? Seems like a no brainer to me."

Let me just say I'm more than a little guilty! By the way, be sure to leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Thanks so much.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...