Tag Archives: family

Part I: The History Behind It All {The Birth Story of Baby #5}

Presenting the birth story of baby #5. Not a very impressive introduction for a little one’s entrance to the world, huh? Well, the story line will pick up very soon, I assure you, so I’m just gonna ease you into the drama of my motherhood.

Also let me admit that, yes, this story is way, WAY past due. Let’s just blame it on the dazed new mama moment…..that, ahem, lasted nearly a year. So let’s pretend it’s 2013 -just for the moment. (Good, now I’m 31 again.)

In honor of her being born on a Wednesday, I will be sharing her birth story series every Wednesday over the next few weeks. So stay tuned. You seriously don’t want to miss a single episode. ;)

Whew. Now that I’m all ‘fessed up, grab a cup of coffee or two and settle in for a baby story. (I just love those, don’t you?) A bag of popcorn wouldn’t be a bad idea either. ;)

baby five

Whenever I find out that I’m pregnant, my propensity to worry escalates right along with my hormones. (Hubs can vouch for this, I promise) “Is the baby ok?”  “Will I pass the glucose test?” “I hope that my blood pressure stays normal through the end.” “Will the baby be born on Halloween?” “I wonder what my labor be like this time around.” Don’t get me wrong. All of these are probably very normal concerns for expectant mothers. However I will not deny that the last “worry” that I mentioned is by far my biggest cause for uneasiness as I near the end of my term.

My sweet, little October baby was no different.

Several things were altered this time around. My heart had known the hurt of loss only the year before. Having been through a miscarriage made me realize how overwhelmingly precious it was to conceive and safely carry a new little one. I will not deny that I breathed a huge sigh of relief once I heard the baby’s steady heartbeat for the first time at 11 weeks. My midwife for that visit, who happened to also be the founder of the birthing center, quietly rejoiced with me as we both listened for several moments to that simple sign of life. Miraculous.

As I just indicated, we also opted to see a midwife at a birthing center with this last pregnancy. I was, at times, a teensy bit apprehensive about not giving birth in a conventional setting. However, my midwives and nurses were the sweetest women ever and I absolutely loved seeing them for my prenatal care.  They always made me feel like they had all the time in the world to talk with me. And I can talk -a lot. Hubs sometimes thinks that I ask too many questions, most of them hypothetical. I can’t help it. I just want to know things. Preparing myself mentally is half the battle towards holding my fears at bay.

Now to lay the groundwork for the arrival of our fifth child, let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane -my past deliveries in chronological order. (Believe me, The History Behind It All is essential in my delivery drama series.)

1) Year 2004: Baby Bunny was a quick labor considering that she was my first. I had no clue what I was in for, and I was trapped in a bed due to monitoring preeclampsia. She was born about six hours after getting my labor started consistently. Her rapid descent shocked us all and the resident doctor nearly had to deliver her since my doctor was not extremely close at hand. It was a sign, the handwriting on the wall, if you will, that my babies would have no sense of timing whatsoever. Hindsight truly is 20/20.

2) Year 2006: Baby Fuzz was born just 20 minutes after settling me in the labor and delivery room. My nurse was so disappointed. She was planning on caring for me throughout the night, but daughter #2 had other other plans and popped right out after my water broke on its own. Again my doctor was not nearby and the resident doctor rushed into my room to deliver our little one. The funny thing was she asked us later if we had been there about a year and a half before. Yes, she was the same resident doctor that had come very close to being the one to catch Bunny.  {Blush} Yes, that was me.

3) Year 2009: Then Baby Zip came along (see her full birth story here). By this time though, we had caught on to the pattern developing. When it came time for daughter #3 to be born, we were ready… or so we thought. Long story short, I went into rapid labor while desperately attempting to convince my new OBGYN that I was having the baby and making an equally frantic attempt to find our baby sitter- both to no avail. We had to rush to my doctor’s office with two little kids in tow. Baby Zip kindly allowed me enough time to enter the building before my water broke. Needless to say, my arrival had the doctors and nurses scurrying around to do an emergency birth on one of their exam tables-less than ideal. Five years later and I am still laughing. I guess I showed them.

Never doubt the woman in labor.

4) Year 2011:  Baby Pop, well, he was the horse of the different color (click here for his full birth story).  Not only was our fourth child a boy, but he did everything in reverse. Unlike the girls, my water broke first with my little boy blue. You can imagine my utter shock when I felt a little pop while lying on the couch at 11 pm. I never had had my water break with zero contractions. I immediately went into full-blown panic mode. I mean, all that I could think was, “What in the world?!”  “I’m not ready.”   I was ready, but I wasn’t. You know what I mean. I needed the “contraction phase” to mentally give myself the pep talk. “You can do this.” “You’ve done this three other times.” “Women do this all the time.”  “This is nothing.”

Nothing? Yes. I sometimes lie to myself.

We jerked our three little girls out of bed, drove willy-nilly to our babysitter’s house (at least middle-of-the-night labors confirms they’ll be home) and sped to the hospital. And I do mean speed. I tried not to look at the speedometer. To be truthful, I was distracted. I was trying desperately to keep it together and not hyper-ventilate in the middle row of our Ford windstar. (I had moved back there “just in case” I needed space and also because it put me in within easy reach of our emergency birth kit that we’d made for our car. After delivering  Zip at the doctor’s office, we weren’t taking any chances.) In prior pregnancies, water breaking signaled an imminent delivery ranging from 5-15 minutes. We were racing against the clock…or so we thought.

The little stinker made me labor, actually labor, at the hospital. I had to walk the halls, people. It was not pleasant. However, he finally made his appearance nearly five hours later. The duration of my labor was on par with the others: 4-5 hours, but everything else was different. My water broke at the beginning instead of at the end, I labored through the night, he tried to come “sunny-side” up, my nurse ignored me pretty much, and I experienced mild hemorrhaging a couple hours after his birth. Yes, my little dude wanted to stand out from the girls for sure.

I took my little man home and began adjusting to life with four munchkins, tidbits of blue in my laundry and the occasional sprinkling during diaper changes. Life was good. I unpacked our bags from the van and there it was, lurking in the middle row, mocking me. Untouched.

My emergency birth kit.

I may have smirked -just a bit- as I disassembled it for storage.

Fast forward two years…exactly. It was the morning of February 22, 2013.

…to be continued…

Thanks for reading.

Fall Bucket List: Family Edition 2014

I love lists. I enjoy seeing my progress on paper as I cross off tasks accomplished. There’s a tremendous and tangible gratification that I feel when a job is completed. Did I finish what I set out to do? Sure. Can I literally see the reward of my labor just by looking around? Absolutely.  But for me, the project is not totally over until I place a check mark in the box- sometimes a big, fat check. And to be honest, there are days when a simple check mark doesn’t feel like enough. A line through that particular job is now required. Other days, well, scribbling a huge black mark over the most recent undertaking is the appropriate crowning moment. I clearly have issues.

So that’s settled. I like lists – a lot. On the flip side, I dislike it when I have a season or a holiday pass me by with missed opportunities. Life is way too short for that. So, I married my two emotions and decided that I would make a Fall Bucket List for 2014. I totally need visual reminders or I procrastinate. Here’s what I came up with.

family fall bucket list 2014c

It is filled to the brim with things that I really want to do with my family, memories that I want to create. I may not be able to do them all, but like all other lists that I make, I will definitely accomplish more than if I hadn’t made a list at all.

Fall is looking rather busy now, but in a fun way. I actually had to force myself to stop adding to our family bucket list. It has to be realistic and while every idea seems wonderful and screams glorious photo opportunity, there are only a limited number of days in the season. Next year possibilities….I told myself as I sorted cute activities, delectable recipes and adorable photo inspirations.

So do you check off your tasks or draw a line through them when you complete them?  Please tell me that someone else is like me- scribbling is sometimes necessary.

Thanks for reading.




Times of Change

Life is always changing. Each day can bring new challenges, expected issues and sometimes the unexpected. At times, I cringe at the mere thought of changes. I, like most people, enjoy and yes, crave stability. I appreciate the capability of knowing that, in most ways, today will be similar to yesterday.

change can be good

2013 was full of changes for our family.

Change 1:

As I’ve mentioned before (many, many moons ago), my music-pastor husband donned a new hat last year: youth pastor. (Wow. Has it already been nearly two years?!) The past two years has been one awesome blur. Awesome, but a blur. Here’s a quick recap for those wondering where in the world I’ve been. :)

Hubs and I have learned to cook for teen crowds, attempted to not break our necks while mastering the art of skiing, organized a mammoth yard sale, sold baked goods, scooped countless bowls of ice cream and filled plates to the brim with steaming spaghetti at youth fundraisers, threw a bunch of gutter balls while bowling and screamed with the best of them at a local baseball games. We’ve cheered for their victories and prayed for their needs.

Last year, I huffed and puffed my pregnant self up and down the numerous steps at The Wilds (a Christian camp) while Hubs chuckled as he easily climbed to the top. every. single. time. This year, however, I “suffered” quietly at the top of the steps as I watched my husband climb the stairs a gazillion times a day. Someone had to stay with our sleeping infant daughter during her naps, you know. I just may have had the last laugh.  :)

We were also blessed to have the opportunity to lead a two small groups of our teens on missions trips. Last summer, we went to Jamaica. Traveling to this island during the hottest part of their summer at seven months pregnant may not have been my brightest moment, but it was certainly worth every perspiring minute. This year’s missions trip was to New Mexico. It was not only beautiful land to see, but also heart-warming to help with a young church plant. Such sweet memories.

Summer activities drew to an close both years with one last trip called Destination Unknown…the teens had no clue where they were going, just what to pack in their suitcases. Too fun. My crazy husband added a random item for the teens to pack on this year’s trip-just for fun and also, just to see if anyone was reading it. Who has kazoos laying around in their room anyways?! Evidently some of our teens do. A kazoo can be very entertaining on a car trip…just so you know.

In the fall, Hubs took the teens to a teen rally in Virginia and I stayed home holding my breath so as to not go into labor while he was out of town. I guess it worked. This is the next big event on the docket for our youth ministry this year and I must admit, I really am excited about attending the rally with the teens this year. Nothing like a good, outdoor fun on a farm.

There you have it…20 months of ministry highlights in a nutshell. At least, the ones that I can remember at the moment. ;)

If there is one thing that over a year of teen ministry has taught us, it’s this: Cheese pizza is a teen staple. It never gets old somehow.

Seriously, these past twenty months, we have learned much about youth ministry and as we are on the approaching the cusp of our third year, we look forward with even greater passion to planning special events, building greater relationships, and teaching young people about God.

My #1 youth pastor’s wife tip: Teens are always hungry. Keep the fridge full.

Change 2:

Shortly after the new “youth pastor” position  began, we found out that we were expecting our fifth child. We were thrilled and completely blessed to be anticipating a new little one into our family. My pregnancy was thankfully uneventful and my labor…umm, quite simple (more on that later!). While Baby #5 was an expected and planned change, it was still nevertheless a change. My sweet baby girl has been here for nearly a year now and I truly cannot imagine life without her.

I spend several hours nursing/feeding and changing this sweet little one in addition to keeping an eagle-eye my three year old and assisting my school-age children: my “big” girls.  So my “mommy hat” certainly consumes the majority of my waking hours, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I feel so very blessed to be surrounded by my little family that God has given to us. This season of refilling sippy cups, wiping snotty faces, and wearing pajamas into the middle of the afternoon doesn’t last long. Not really.  The years truly do seemingly slip through my fingers in spite my flailing attempts to still the hands of time. Soon the busyness and sometimes the frustrations of today will become distant, precious memories that I will long to be able to enjoy again- even if only for a day. At least that’s what I tell myself. Ask me again tonight at the dinner hour when Bunny is struggling with her multi-digit multiplication, Fuzz can’t remember a C chord on the piano, Zip is pulling at my clothes for a cup of chocolate milk, Pop is driving every single matchbox car he owns beneath my feet, Baby #5 is wailing for her dinner and a clean diaper, and dinner is still partially frozen on the stove. I know exactly how I will respond.

Why yes. I would joyfully live this moment of time over again….after a quick power nap. :)

Change 3:

During late spring last year, we received word that both of our older girls had been selected to attend a new charter school nearby our church. We were and still are ecstatic about this wonderful opportunity. It has been exciting to be one of the founding families of this new educational launch in our community and to watch as they built their new facility this past year. It has also been a learning curve for our family. Waking two little girls at 6:30 am has been easier than we had originally thought. I’m not sure why this took us by surprise since our children seem to rise with the sun anyways. Getting out the front door neatly dressed, lunches packed, backpacks/homework in hand, fed, AND a smile on their faces? Not so easy, I’m afraid. Homework before supper? Yes, another adjustment to our schedule. However, I am thoroughly enjoying seeing both Bunny and Fuzz (and this year, little Zip) as they make new friends, study for tests, work on team projects and presentations, learn new instruments and grow in their academics.

I think that the biggest lesson that I learned these past months was to allow us the grace that we needed to adapt to some of these larger changes in our lives. A new position, a new addition and a new education have altered our way of living in countless ways. They have each been an adjustment and a huge blessing rolled into one.

And while I may still not be a fan of change, I am constantly reminded of this one truth. It doesn’t always have to be dreaded. Sometimes change can be good. It may mean relinquishing the usual comfort of today for the unexpected blessings of tomorrow. And who doesn’t want that?!

Thanks for reading.



Blog Again, Blog Again, Jiggity-Jig (+ a Christmas series)

I’m back. :)

Whew. It has been quite the few months since I’ve been on here.

And I spent it living out of a suitcase. Literally.

I packed for my kids to spend a week in WV visiting my family, packed for a couples retreat, packed for my husband to fly up north to his brother’s wedding, for the fam for vacation, for a whirlwind weekend to WV for my grandmother’s 90th birthday, packed for my daughter for junior camp, for my kids to go to WV {again}, for Hubs and I to take the teens to camp, packed for Hubs and I {again} to fly to Jamaica on a missions trip with our teenagers, packed for weekend ladies retreat and my very favorite {and most recent} packing- for our newest addition’s arrival: Baby #5.

{one day old}

(Unfortunately living away from both sides of the family, this meant packing for our entire family of six + the new baby. Somewhat daunting trying to have the proper attire packed and ready to go- for a time/day that we knew not. Talk about packing blindly. Ha!)

I think that I can now be considered a professional packer. (Adding that to my resume.)

Life is settling down…ahem, somewhat. (Does it ever really?!) Life with five kiddos is totally awesome- and totally a crazy house. Add about 25 more kids to that mix that we “adopted” this past January when my husband became the youth pastor in conjunction with his role as the music pastor at our church. Yup. Busy, busy times.

{one week old}

However now that I’m finally getting sleep again, I am determined to  get back into blogging. :)

I really need more things to do. (Ha!)

{one month old}

(Actually my “new” thing that I’ve added to my life just this past week is photographed in the above picture. Cloth diapers. Why not add blogging back to the mix? I’d hate to be bored. And by the way, just look how big she’s already getting. Wow.)

No. It’s because I enjoy connecting with you. It’s a little slice of “me time”, a chance for me to talk with adult people throughout the day, albeit through my keyboard. (I’ll take what I can get. ;) )

My blogging presence will not be perfect. Some weeks may have more posts than others. But this does not surprise you, I’m sure.

Several of my blogging friends have graciously allowed me to jump in with their holiday series. It was the perfect time for me to ease my “virtual toes” back into the blogging waters, so to speak. And here I am late to the party. So typical.

Please take the time to check out their different posts for some Christmas inspiration. You will love each of their posts- they are some super creative women. I’ve included a little “teaser” picture from each post just to pique your curiosity. You won’t be able to not click over. :)


The Frugal Homemaker shared an absolutely gorgeous wreath made with real tree clippings. Using nature in your decor is beautiful and adds a new texture to your display. Best of all, it doesn’t always have to be expensive. It could even be free. You could use some clippings off of a garland or even off of some pine trees near your home. I usually tromp around in the tiny little woods behind our house, looking for pine branches and pine cones. I think that I may look for some sticks as well this year. :) Anyways, find out how Christina made her wreath for free. Brilliant.

Christmas Grapevine & Evergreen wreath (made with free tree cuttings!)

{Christmas Grapevine & Evergreen Wreath}

SlipCoveredGrey made a breathtaking piece of Christmas art. I loved it. Loved everything about it. It was so simple, yet so elegant. I have got to find some huge pictures for great prices at thrift stores. Our home could use some statement pieces for our walls and so could my husband’s office walls. I’m a woman on a mission now. Look out! That huge, out-dated framed picture is totally mine. :)

{Christmas Mirror Art}

Another favorite blogger (whom I was thrilled to finally meet in person this past summer), Brown Sugar Toast, shared a festive ornament yesterday. It was simple and easy. This is totally necessary in my world lately. I’d love to try these with the kiddos. Maybe. Knowing my munchkins, anything involving glitter could definitely go south in a hurry. Ha! Whether I attempt doing it with my girls or alone, a Pottery Barn inspired craft never disappoints in my book.

{Monogram Glitter Ornament}

Today PenniesnGrace is sharing more Christmas inspiration at her blog. Her holiday wall decor is right down my alley. Rustic. Pottery Barnish. Free. Frugal is certainly the key word in all of these crafts. I’m all in. Ok. I’m jotting down covertly looking through other people’s trash along with scouring local thrift stores. And just so you know, scissors would be my best friend for this craft as well. ;)


{Wooden Joy To The World Sign}

Tomorrow I will be sharing another Christmas inspiration here. So excited about it. So again, please take a moment to check out these great ideas and come back tomorrow for one more frugal idea for your holiday celebrations.

Thanks for reading. :)