Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thankful Thursday -- Little Jack

*Edit* I wrote this over a month ago, but was never able to get the picture uploaded. Anyway, I just wanted this to be published before Jack actually arrived!

This week, I've been rather reflective and it's made me appreciate my pregnancy even more. That's not very hard for me to do because I love being pregnant! I always have. I love maternity clothes, not worrying about my figure, feeling the baby move, counting down the days, everything! But this week it's been even more special to me. You see, a year ago this month, we lost our fourth baby.

It was a very traumatic time. Since we knew from the beginning that there were issues with the pregnancy, the actual loss was not a surprise. We had to wait around for it to happen though. And, of course, Ryan was out of town at the time, and it hit in a big way! I won't go into details now, but it was one of those momentous life events that I'll remember for the rest of my life.

Then it took us five months to conceive, and I was beginning to wonder if there was something wrong with me that caused me to miscarry and then not conceive. But here I am, almost 34 weeks (tomorrow), and little Jack's going to be here very soon.

We've made Jack a part of our lives already, as we have for all of the children. James was not surprised when Evelyn came and they both wondered why we made such a big deal out of Jefferson's birth. After all, we had been speaking of him as being here all along!

We've made the little changes that are necessary -- moving Jefferson's car seat in the van to make room for Jack's, moving Jefferson into James' room next week, etc. But we talk about him all the time. In fact, Jefferson thinks Jack's going to come out playing "baw" (ball)!

I usually want my Thankful Thursday posts to be about everyday happenings -- to find the joy in the mundane and the everyday, but today's post is a little more profound, and we're excited! Only 5 weeks left! (At least, that's our prediction!)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Task List

I need some accountability so I'm counting on some from you, my blog (and facebook) readers! Here is my list that needs to be accomplished before Jack arrives. (Okay, I know that it won't all get done, but I need as much of it done as possible.)

Clean out all closets -- James, Jefferson, Evelyn, Master, 3 hall closets

Paint Evelyn's bedroom

Work on budget

Homeschool Schedule (for 1st 3 months)

Organize and clean out pantry

Clear off the island and rearrange office supplies that are on top

Get out baby clothes

Put clothes back in attic (this is a major task--you have no idea!)

Clean the master bedroom thoroughly

I'm sure that more tasks will be added, but I am looking forward to seeing lines through many of these tasks.

Goals for this week:

Paint Evelyn's bedroom (technically Ryan's job)

Organize and clean out pantry

Clean out James' closet

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thankful Thursday -- Jefferson

The last two weeks, I've been very aware of just how special Jefferson is.

Last week, we were doing some pretty intensive potty-training sessions, and, at times, I was about to lose my mind. In just one morning, he wet 5 times on the kitchen floor and had one bm on the kitchen floor as well. Nothing in the potty seat! Ahhhhhhhhh! We've taken a little more relaxed approach for this past week.

When I was cooking for him last week and bringing him his food, he grinned at me, and I was overwhelmed by love. He is a lot of work, but he is such a blessing to us as well. I was reminded of what happened a little over a year ago.

I was eating a banana and offering him some of it. He took too big a bite and it became lodged in his throat. After turning him upside down and beating him and then trying to reach my fingers down to pull it up (not a good idea), I screamed for Ryan, who was working from home that day, to get downstairs. He did the heimlich on Jefferson, and it was just enough to dislodge the banana and allow him to swallow it. During that time though, Jefferson had turned blue, his eyes were wide with terror, before rolling back into his head, and he had blood all over his mouth, probably due to my digging in his throat. It's still hard for me to write this and remember it.

With all his disorders/developmental struggles, he struggles with chewing and swallowing. It's not that he can't, it's that he needs to exercise his tongue and jaw more than others and it's not easy for him, so he just swallows food whole. So we get a lot of choking and gagging. Every time he chokes or gags, my heart speeds up and jumps in my throat and I start yelling, "Chew it up, Jefferson. Chew!" Most of the time he will.

This past Tuesday however, he had put so much chicken in his mouth, that he couldn't chew. And, apparently, he doesn't know how to spit it out either. I tried that. Finally I reached in to start pulling out the chicken in front, and then he started throwing it up. He choked, gagged and coughed for about the next 10 minutes, trying to clear his airways. I sat in the rocking chair, holding him and crying -- again.

He is a joy. He is lively and happy. He loves people. He loves his siblings, and he loves his mom and dad. He loves talking on the phone (even though nobody knows what he's saying). Cooking for him is often worse than cooking for the rest of our family, and I cook almost entirely from scratch, so that's saying a lot. But none of us can imagine life without him.

So for this week, I'm so thankful that the Lord has given us Jefferson. He is truly a special gift from God.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Our little daredevil

A few weeks ago, my parents came down on Dad's Harley to visit for the weekend. Evelyn has been wanting a ride on the motorcycle, but my Dad's been really hesitant for safety reasons. Apparently, Evelyn's begging must have worn him down because he finally consented. Watch the video to see how she enjoyed it!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Soccer and Gymnastics


Thankful Thursday -- Teaching Kids to Work

This will be a different Thankful Thursday post. For the last few weeks, I've been working with the children on learning some new jobs and on further mastering the ones they already know. As all of you moms know, this takes incredible patience -- something that I am not known for! This teaching process has made me realize how very much I have to be thankful for.

1) That I have children to teach. There are many people out there, friends that I have, who would love to have children, yet the Lord has not blessed them with any. How often do I complain throughout the daily grind about the ones that I have?

2) That I am able to teach them. This is a multi-faceted one. I am thirty-one weeks pregnant. Many who are at this stage are unable to function on a daily basis because of prescribed bed rest, sickness, tiredness, etc. I am not struggling with these. I have much to be thankful for. Also, ignoring the pregnancy, I am thankful to have my health. With the heart issue that I've had, I've had plenty of opportunity to reflect upon what it could be like. Even though I'd like an occasional break, I wouldn't want to be forced to take it easy all the time or limit my activity. I'm thankful that I'm able to stay home. I wouldn't have any of the time to teach them these skills that I believe are necessary if I wasn't home all day with them. Again, there can be frustrations, but there are frustrations at outside jobs as well. I love being home with my children!

3) That they are able to learn. There was a time when we seriously wondered about Jefferson's health and whether he would be impaired. The Lord has been very, very good to us. All of our children are extremely healthy, are able to work, are able to understand and have the energy and excitement that is necessary in working together as a family.

4) That they're tender-hearted. They are willing to work. Even though they may complain (trust me, they do!), when we explain the reasons that we are having them learn these skills, they jump in with both feet and we all have a good time working together as a family.

For anyone who's interested, here are some of the skills that they are learning/have learned:

James -- make his bed, empty the trash, empty the dishwasher, fold towels, learning to fold the large bath towels, peel carrots and potatoes, help me cook asparagus for Jefferson (see picture), spread butter on toast, set the table, clean up both his toys and sibling's toys if asked, load the washer, transfer to the dryer, fold his own clothes and put them away, help me fold Jefferson's clothes, sweep the kitchen floor after meals, rinse his own dishes after every meal and put them in the dishwasher.

Evelyn -- make her bed, put the silverware away, fold washcloths, dust cloths and hand towels, throw cut up veggies in soups or casseroles, set the table, clean up her toys and sibling's toys when asked, help James load the washer and transfer to the dryer, fold most of her own clothes and put them away, use the dustpan to clean the piles that James swept up, rinse her own dishes after every meal and put them in the dishwasher.

Jefferson -- picking up his own toys and helping pick up sibling's toys when asked. He's also learning to put books away. He loves to be with me all the time, so he's constantly observing and trying new things. It will be quite interesting to see what he ends up learning just by observing!