It seems that life and death have been very present to me lately. I guess it began with the seemingly premature death of Michael Billings. Then on Sunday I was privileged to be a part of something I had never participated in before. Something, in fact, that I had never heard of before. On Sunday our church family and many others gathered for a memorial service for the tiny baby of our friends.

What was unique about this service is that this baby was only about 8 weeks into his or her development. But at 8 weeks gestational age it was no less a person than you or I, and it’s parents wanted to honor and recognize the personhood of their baby.

Our pastor preached a wonderful sermon on Joy in a Fallen World. He reminded us of the joy we have even in our sufferings, and the strength and power our testimony gains when the Lord has brought us through trials.

Then there was a very moving "graveside" service and the burial of the little baby.

What a wonderful time of healing for the parents. What a wonderful testimony about the value we, as Christians, place on life. So many women suffer miscarriages and don’t feel free to grieve the loss of the babies they never knew as deeply as they would the loss of born children. So many people act as though miscarriage is a more of a medical procedure or illness rather than the loss of a child. Not a child that was to be, but a child that was. I’m grateful that I was allowed to be a part of it.


Her First Recital

She played "O Come Little Children," and she was wonderful.


hypocrisy: an expression of agreement that is not supported by real conviction

When we pass laws that allow the death of unborn children to be called murder, but we continue to call those same unborn children a mass of cells so their mothers can kill them without repercussion, we are HYPOCRITES.

Yesterday in the van I heard that there is man who is facing 99 years for murder if he is convicted. Who is he charged with murdering? The pre-born baby his girlfriend was carrying. HUH??

He is accused with slipping her a mickey in the form of RU-486, the morning after drug. They found traces of it in a drink he prepared for her. It was her second miscarriage in 10 months, and apparently he is implicated in the first as well.

Now, I agree that he should face the same penalty for causing the death of a pre-born child that he would if that child had been born. But I am choking on the irony. If she didn't want the baby, she could have trotted down to the local abortionist and there wouldn't have been a thing he could do about it. A pre-born baby is just a mass of cells until it's momma loves it. Then it magically becomes a baby. Maybe we think babies are a lot like the velveteen rabbit, and only the love of a mother can bring them to life.

But oh! The horror, the unfairness, the tragedy, of daddy snuffing out the life of his child when he finds it doesn't really fit into his plans. The murder of pre-born babies is strictly reserved for Mom. The dad of the inconvenient child is just expected to pony up the cash, either to the abortionist or in the form of child-support payments. Her choice. Hypocrites.

It's another one of the wonderful gifts that feminism has brought to us. And if you still think feminism has been good for women, I've got a bridge I'd like to sell ya ;)


Gifts from Above

Let me just apologize in advance for the way everything is running together. Blogger seems to have a glitch and I am out of time to figure it out :)

Hmmm, what's that you say? Why is she showing us a picture of art supplies? Who cares??? Well, these are not any ordinary art supplies, these are my encouragement. And my children's encouragement and blessing.
The story you say?!? You don't get it? Well, we are home from our 3 week trip to visit family in CA and AZ. A trip which entailed several long days in a car with a screaming baby. (Although, the last leg of that trip was much happier due to a bottle of chamomile tea sweetened with stevia for the baby and earplugs for me.)

Anyway, we came home to the whirlwind of December violin recitals, piano recitals and concerts. There were (are) clothes to buy, lessons to attend, and no food in the house. So, we set out to remedy the situation. Haircuts, violin lessons, several stores and several hours later the general attitude was whiny, hungry, and cranky. And the kids weren't in a good mood either! :)

I am exhausted and working hard to keep everyone cooperating and civil. We stop at Costco to eat dinner (cheap!) and pick up a few things. We have just enough time before they close. I order a pizza and settle in for the 20 minutes it's going to take the thing to cook. But hey, at least someone else is cooking it :)
So, there we are at our little table. Eli wanted the one with the umbrella but it wouldn't hold us, Ezra wanted a hot dog instead of pizza, someone looked at Sierra wrong, Ty wants to nurse, and mom wants to crawl in bed with a pint of Ben and Jerrys; and this isn't even the last stop.
I get up to fill drink cups and this older woman, dressed all in purple, approaches me. "Hi! I'm a teacher," she says. Uh oh... "Your children are so adorable and sweet, can I give them these pencils?!?" "Sure, they'll love them." "Oh, and there is a website listed on the pencils where you can get information about our reading program!" "GREAT!", I say. (no, I'm not going to add a sarcastic comment. Jeesh!)
So, back to the table I go with pencils all around. Seeing the sweet, adorable children a little clearer.
About 15 minutes later, as their sweetness is beginning to fade into grumpy hunger, another woman approaches. "Excuse me," she says to this nursing mama. "Yes," I say with a smile that conveys a lot more good cheer than I am feeling. "I have never done this before, but I have been watching your children and they are so cute and well behaved. I have just really been enjoying them and I thought how nice it would be for them to have this, and I wanted to give it to them!" "Wow! Thank you so much, that is such a blessing!"
And "this" of course, is the above art set.
The children were thrilled and the rest of the time flew by with much improved dispositions. I wish I had told both of those woman how the Lord had used them to encourage me. And I'm grateful he used us to encourage them. But I so wish I had praised the Lord to those ladies, and not just to my children. I really need to work on having His praises always on my tongue.
Oh, and just to round out our Costco experience. As we were clearing up our trash a man called me over. "Excuse me? Miss?" "Yes?" "Are you Pentacostal?" Huh!! "Umm, no.." "Oh, those girls in dresses and stuff. I thought maybe you were Pentacostal." "Oh. No, we're baptist actually." "Huh, Southern Baptist, no doubt!" "No. Actually we're Reformed Baptist." "Huh. Well you have a great family. Great testimony for dresses." ummmm "thanks."
All in all, Costco was quite an eventful stop for us. Our steps were a little lighter as we left. We were grateful to the Lord for His blessing and encouragment. And we left to spread the gospel of dresses. Not!


Joy in the Midst of Sorrow

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
1Thess. 4:13-14

Last night I was privileged to be a part of a special time of remembrance and praise for the life and death of an extraordinary young man. To our minds, he was taken far too soon. But truly, "precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."

I don’t intend this post to be a tribute to life of this man. Although his life is truly worthy of tribute and remembrance, others have and will do so far more eloquently than I.

Instead I want to comment on the blessing that it is for the saints to come together in times of sorrow. It was a glorious thing to see these young men, tears streaming down their faces, praise our savior for His goodness. What an important gift we give our children when they see weeping with hope. Sorrow with praise. Devastating loss coupled with trust and joy unspeakable.

When we sang "It is Well With My Soul," it was maybe the most beautiful, glorious thing I have ever heard. The power and emotion in that song vibrated the very cup in my hand. Music is a gift to us from our creator, and we are told to praise Him with it. It is always a glorious thing to hear and join in the lifting up our voices to our mighty God. But it is even more glorious when we are with those who have purposed to train their voices to the glory of God. It convicted me that since we are told to praise our God in song; we ought to endeavor to make that song as beautiful as we can. The musical training of my children took on a whole new dimension. We have always stressed that music was to glorify God, but my understanding is fuller and richer now.

Last night was such an encouragement to continue to run the race that is set before me. To finish well. To walk alongside my children; discipling them, praying for them, training them up to be mighty defenders of the faith. Every moment is precious; life is truly but a vapor.

By the grace of God I pray that I will not waste it. That my children will not waste it. That their youth will not be spent in foolish pursuits, but that they will be about their Fathers business all the days of the lives. This young man was not granted many days on this earth. But those days were lived to the fullest; he was about the things of men. His fervent desire was to know his Lord and to serve Him. We need not weep for him; we weep only for ourselves. What a tremendous gift, there is nothing more I want for my children.
updated 10:34 pm to add links to tributes


Happy Birthday to Me

Today marks the completion of my 40th revolution around the sun. Wow! The earth seems to be moving faster all the time. I'm now officially older than my father :)

Last night I was contemplating God's grace and mercy in my life. I have a wonderful family, health, enough for all of my needs and some of my wants, good friends who walk alongside me and encourage me to righteousness, a husband who love me like Christ loved the church and daily lays down his life for me, and many more too enumerable to list. He is so good who takes an undeserving sinner and restores life and brings joy. There have been hard days, many of them. And joy in the midst. And peace. What a blessing.

The girls made me breakfast this morning. We bought pasteries at Costco yesterday and Sierra made a really good fruit salad to go with them. Hailey set a lovely table using the red glasses and red cystal bowl. I should have taken a picture.

Chance is taking us to dinner tonight. We might go see Bella, I can't decide if it would be good for the children or not.

The only thing missing is Mike. But I will get to seem him next week! All in all, a good day :)

A Contest!

Kim at Life in a Shoe is doing a great give-away just in time for Christmas. $250 worth of Vision Forum merchandise will be given away to 3 lucky providentially selected winners! So, I'm making my wish list and entering the contest, it ends tonight!

The Life and Campaigns of Stonewall Jackson
Christ in the Camp
Seargent York and the Great War
Jamestown Quadricentennial Audio
Southern Lady Doll Dress
Medieval Princess Doll Dress
Providential Battles II
Doll Quilt Kit


He Cracks Me Up

Chance spends time every evening talking with the children and praying with them now that Mike is gone.

The other night he was talking to the boys about the need to "take care of ladies". He often shares about the importance of this and then gives various scenarios.

Here is a little excerpt:

C: Do we always take care of ladies?
Boys: Yes!
C: Even if we are afraid, do we still take care of ladies?
Boys: Yes!!
Eli: ...I'm afraid of some ladies, but I still take care of them.


Where Have I Been

I guess it's been quite a while since I have posted anything of any substance, or written anything at all for that matter. My brain has not quite recovered from the pregnancy mush, and frankly we are just in baby nirvana over here! Downtime isn't spent writing, it's spent playing with the baby, talking about the baby, or watching the baby sleep while sighing about how adorable he is. We all love having a baby in the house. It is such a gift and we are just savoring every second of it. And it is such a joy to see my older children so in love with him, so thrilled to have a new sibling.

Although Eli has reminded me a few times that Titus will get spankings when he is older :)

And Ezra has started sucking his thumb :0 So, more time is spent on snuggling with the littles too.

And then there is the matter of the house... And people still want to eat. 3 TIMES A DAY!! And my other half is missing.

All that to say, we're busy :) And while I have much I am thinking about, and frequently intend to blog about, I just never seem to have the time to put it into a coherent and interesting format :)

But I'll try harder. Really. I will. Tomorrow :)




Miss You Daddy!

Can you feel the love?

Sierra: "If you've already had your baby, how come you're still fat?"

Me: Smiling patiently... "Well, I actually weigh a tiny bit less than when I got pregnant, but it takes a while for your tummy to get back to size."

Sierra: "Oh...Because you look like you did when you were a little bit pregnant. I hope it doesn't take this long for MY tummy to go down after I have a baby."

I explain all the things that increase your weight when you are pregnant, and then add that most women also add body fat.

Sierra: "Gross! So you might always be fat?!? That would be embarrassing!"

Ummm, thanks.


Works For Me Wednesday

I never post for WFMW cuz I get my ideas there, but don't really feel like I have any cool stuff to add :) But today the theme is name brands, and I apparently, am a name brand kind of gal!

Yep, there are some brands that I will pay more for. Some that I will even go out of my way to find. I can happily eat junky restaurant food even though I'm sure it's full of GMO soy and artificial everything :) Yes. It seems that if someone else makes it, brings it to me, and cleans it up, I can happily ignore pesticides in the foods dna and the rapid hardening of my arteries :)

But what goes in my grocery cart has a whole 'nother standard. (Unless of course I am pregnant, my husband is gone, and I'm an emotional mess. Then all bets are off!)

So, what are the brands that keep me coming back?

Mrs. Meyers Clean Day - Love this stuff! The dish soap actually cuts grease, the dishwasher detergent leaves the dishes smelling so good and doesn't leave a film. I've loved everything I've tried. By far the best if you want to avoid all the nasty stuff in the commercial brands.

OxyClean - This has saved the day many a time. Although sometimes even OxyClean can't lick this Texas mud, nothing else comes close.

Hellmans Mayonnaise - I used to really hate Mayo until I discovered Hellmans, it's the best.

Tazo Tea - Tazoberry to be exact. This isn't something I buy regularly, but when I want a special drink this one hits the spot. I'm always sorry if I become convinced that another beverage holds greater appeal. Tazoberry's the only one that really does it.

Burt's Bees - Love the lip balm, the face soap, the baby products...

Zim's Crack Cream - Absolutely the best thing I've found for those awful dry elbows and heels. The only thing that brings relief and healing to DH painful cracked heels.

Jason's Toothpaste - I've tried a lot of flouride-free brands, and we all prefer Jason's, hands down. I'll make a special trip across town just to buy it. Well, I used to. Now Amazon delivers it to my home :)

Maytag Bleu Cheese - Skip the bleu if you can't find Maytag!

Face Greek Yogurt - Unlike anything else. Soo yummy!

Jello - No, not healthy. At. all. But in my book, everything's better with jello. My husband says I am the queen of jello, he never knew there were so many ways to serve it. But it has to be the original, J-E-L-L-O :)

In-N-Out - The ONLY fast food hamburger! Seriously.

These are some things that work for me! There's more I know, but it's bedtime :)

Ty Courage


More Baby Pictures

Ty Courage's First Bath 8/26/07

Beautiful Beat-Up Baby Boy


Belated Birthday Wishes

We celebrated the birthdays of both Chance and Ezra last Friday. It was extra special because grandma was able to be here to share in the festivities. That hasn't happened since our move to Texas.

Ezra turned 4 on the 13th and Chance turned 21 on the 17th. It was special to celebrated the births of our oldest and youngest (for one more day) together. We are blessed to have Chance as an oldest son. His siblings adore him because he always takes the time to play with them and talk to them. He prays for them and with them and goes before them to set an example of service and sacrifice and love of our God.

And Ezra has been such a blessing to our family. His smile can light up a room. He is a funny little chatterbox that provides lots of family entertainment :) May God raise you up to be a mighty warrior for Him, may He bless you and keep you all the days of your life. We love you Ezra!

Birthday Blessings

Rootbeer Floats, mmmm!

Showing Off

Just a few more shots of our sweet new baby boy.

I finally got some with his eyes open.



It's Just Not Right

Do you see that beautiful baby, peacefully sleeping? I took this photo at about 10am a couple of days ago. He had been asleep since about 5am. That's 5 hours of sleep. Glorious, precious sleep. Would that those 5 hours were between midnight and 5 am. But alas, between 10pm and 5am he didn't sleep more than about 20 minutes at a stretch. He ate. All. Night. Long.

Things are going to have to change.

He is awfully cute though!

It's Frugal Friday

The last time I painted my bathroom I spent a good 20 min. looking for the roller that I had been using the time before. Finally, I remembered that it was in the refrigerator.

Now, this tells me a few things. First, if I have room on the shelf for a large paint roller to go unnoticed, I really need to go shopping. Second, I haven't been the one making many of the meals lately. But the third one is the reason for this post. Did you know that when you finish rolling, if you are not done with that color you can wrap the roller in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge? Now, maybe I am the last one to learn this little trick, but I thought it was pretty cool! I don't know how long it will keep the roller fresh and paintable, but I know it lasts at least 2 weeks.

This is really great because I hate washing out rollers. In fact, I hate it so much that I don't do it anymore. I throw them away when I am done using them. So, the fact that I can save them until I am done with the color makes me feel a little less wasteful.

There ya go, that's my frugal tip. My first submission for Frugal Friday!


A Name and Some Pictures

For Part 1 and Part 2

Introducing Titus Courage Elliott (Ty)

Happy Birthday Baby!

For Part 1

After a check to see where we were and a quick sweep of the membranes (which wasn't as bad as I feared), they gave me some homeopathics to take, ummm, not orally.

I had 4 vials and was to take 1 every half-hour. Then they left and I was to call if I needed them.

I think they left about 1pm.

Shortly after taking the first vial contractions started. Not too hard and not real regular, but definitely contractions. By the time I took the third vial they were hard enough that I had to breathe through them and they were 2-3 minutes apart and 50-60 seconds long. No one in the house really noticed, I'm sure everyone thought it was way too soon for anything to be going on. I had told myself it would be at least midnight, and I couldn't seem to get that timeframe out of my head. I kept thinking, "How am I ever going to get to midnight? They are so hard and coming so quickly!" I sent Hailey to find a watch, so I could see if they were as close as they seemed. My mom started timing and was pretty surprised.

About then the midwives called to check on me. I told them I hadn't taken the 4th vial, but that they should probably come back. It was about 2:30 PM.

They came on back and hung out for a little while. They also gave me some tips for getting through the contractions and gave me blessed relief through counter-pressure on my hip bones. That was pretty amazing. The birth ball was also a surprising blessing. I had picked one up at their recommendation, but really didn't think I would use it. But it was sooo much more comfortable than anywhere else.

Mike worked on setting up the pool. He was rushing around and I'm thinking "You can relax a little, we have hours!"

I went ahead and had them check me again because the contractions seemed so hard and they were coming so quickly. I was at 8cm, 9 during a contraction. It was time to get in the pool :)

Once I was in the pool there was a little lull in the contractions. It was just what I had prayed for. Time to catch my breath and gear up mentally a little bit. I had prayed for a short labor, a little baby, and the ability to remain focused. God was so gracious to me. Although, I was pretty taken aback at how fast everything seemed to be moving. The bathroom was dark, with candles for light and everyone did pretty good about being quiet. Only a few reminders were needed :) And the midwives left me alone a lot, which was really good. The girls were there, but they were good about fading into the background :)

At 4:30 PM our sweet little baby made his entrance into the world! Born in the pool into daddy's hands. We all commented on how tiny the baby was. But most surprising was the fact that IT WAS A BOY! Mike and I were SURE it was a girl! But God has blessed us with a beautiful baby boy. So, now the count is 5 boys, 3 girls. Hailey says there is still time to even it up :)

The midwives didn't share our opinion that he was small, and after weighing him, I guess they were right :0 He is 9 lbs 3 1/2 oz. and 21 1/2" long. His head and chest were 14".

He also has a headful of hair (none of my babies have had any hair). At first they thought it looked red, but it isn't. It's light brown right now.

The cord was wrapped around his neck twice, and he delivered with his hand next to his face, so he is pretty bruised up, but he is beautiful!

The placenta didn't want to come, and that ended up taking quite a bit of effort. And the after-birth pains are...well intense doesn't begin to describe them, but we are all healthy and well, and ever so grateful. It is wonderful to have a new little baby in the house.


Baby News

Well, my midwives should be here any minute to take a little look-see and see if my cervix has begun to do any...changing. I have been having lots of contractions, but we all know that doesn't necessarily mean anything. If there are no changes to my cervix that indicate my body is getting ready for labor then an herbal induction is not likely to be successful.

This isn't like going to a hospital and getting pitocin in an iv. You know you'll be leaving with a baby when you do that. But I vowed never to do that again, so we'll just have to see if we can help baby along a little with more natural methods. I wouldn't be trying to move anything along any faster under normal circumstances. Eli was 2 weeks "late" and I was okay with that. But I really do want Mike to have as much time as possible with the baby, and for my mom's early trip not to be in vain. So, hopefully this little one is ready to meet the world :)

*Update* I wrote the above yesterday but didn't post it because the midwives got here and I never got back to it. I had begun taking a couple of homeopathics on Thursday afternoon, and had begun having lots of contractions, but nothing regular. So, when they checked me and I was dilated to 4cm and 80% effaced I was pretty surprised. I don't usually dilate early. Everyone began to be hopeful that we would indeed have a baby soon.


Happy Birthday Ezra!!

We're holding off on the celebration until daddy comes home, but today is Ezra's 4th birthday. What a blessing his addition has been to our family.

It has been such a joy to watch him blossom from a little boy who barely spoke and didn't know how to smile, into the affectionate chatterbox he is now.
We love you Ezra, and we are so grateful that God put you in our family!


Today I worked on painting my bathroom. It goes like this: brush, brush, brush, rest, rest, rest. You get the picture, it's slow going. I got one coat on most of the bathroom and then I decided to join the kids in the pool.

I've been wanting to get in the pool for a long time. I was wondering why I hadn't when I remembered that we have been fighting the Great Algae War all summer. Well, the war seems to be won, at least temporarily. The water is clear and beckoning. So, I dug around for something I could swim in and headed on out.

I expected it to be a bit cold, but the pool, unlike me, doesn't live in air conditioning. It was as warm as bath water, even a little warmer than I would have made a bath at that particular time. It was wonderful.

To actually be able to move around unencumbered was such a treat. I felt almost normal in the pool. My belly was virtually weightless and I could walk and swim with no discomfort. I really should have done it sooner.

The kids of course thought it was great and serenaded me endlessly with "Mommy, watch this!" "Look at me!" Eli attached himself to me and announced that he never intended to let go. Then he proceeded to shower my nose with kisses.

I swam for a while and then held the side and did some kicking. Hailey told the others that I was exercising. After thinking for a minute, Eli said that I should do some "boy" exercise.

"What is "boy" exercise, Eli?"

"You jump off things, flip, run around the pool 70x, climb trees, fight with swords, play fight, jump on the trampoline, run around and through things, and jump out of airplanes."

I think I'm too tired for "boy" exercise.


Show and Tell

For Show and Tell Friday I thought I would share with you what my kids couldn't wait to share with me. I was roused from my rest by the excited shouts of children. It seems they had found a little tree frog in the pool. They had all held him and now they wanted to share their joy and show the little bugger to me. They especially wanted me to note that the inside of his back legs were yellow, and Sierra wanted to make sure that I knew he would eat aphids, which they had fed him.

I tried to take a picture for your enjoyment, but he wouldn't hold still for long and my camera seemed to want to focus on anything but him. So, tear your eyes from Hailey's perfectly focused feet and take a look at our blurry little tree frog. Who is now safely...in the trees.


Checking In

I know, it's been a long time since I've posted. I guess I just haven't felt like it. I haven't felt like I've had anything beneficial, enlightening, interesting, or mildly humorous to say. In short, I've felt pretty whiny. And who wants to hear that :)

Mike was able to come home for a visit last weekend, and that went a long way in making me feel a bit more centered. Like I could continue to climb the mountain in front of me. We really couldn't afford it, but like he said, sometimes you just can't afford not to. He knows when I am crying it is NOT GOOD. I rarely cry. He cries at sad movies and tough goodbyes, not me. I just don't cry easily. Sooo, when I do, I really do. And in response to my meltdown, he decided he ought to come home for the weekend. It was a good decision.

And there was just 10 days between him leaving and his next stay here. At this point, I can do 10 days standing on my head! And when he comes back, he will be here for about 3 weeks. I hope, hope, hope to have the house done when he leaves. Oh, and we really hope to greet our newest little un-named bundle of joy in that time-frame too!

And on that note, we have been really praying that this little one would come soon after he arrives, rather than just before he leaves. And in discussing that hope with our midwife yesterday, she suggested that we set up a time to try and get the ball rolling. Sooo, we are looking at possibly trying to do some things to bring on labor on the 18th or so. That is a week from Saturday. A WEEK FROM SATURDAY!! That's soon.

But I did buy some t-shirts and diapers, so I guess we're ready :)

I am really looking forward to meeting our baby, and the day when EVERYTHING I eat or drink won't give me heartburn, taking deep breaths, not wanting a drywall fix like a junkie needs a needle, and some relief from back/hip pain. But actually pushing the baby out??? Not so much. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the labor. And labor is such a mental thing. I don't want to go into it ambivalent or nervous. I want to welcome it, to embrace it, to be unafraid of it. I'm not there yet.



I think we are having a work day tomorrow. We had one scheduled for Saturday, but we got rained out. The rain here has been incredible. It seems like it has rained every day for at least a month. Not always torrential rain, although that has happened often enough. But enough rain that we are getting virtually nothing done outside. Saturday it was raining so hard that the people that were coming couldn't get here.

I am enjoying the rain though. Last summer was so dry, we were often praying for rain. Now, much of the country is suffering through a drought and we are so lush and green. It is strange to think of all the fires in CA, and to read that the brush is so dry that even the goats can't clear it, when here it seems almost tropical.

It's like this extended spring is a special gift just for me :) The greenery feeds my soul. I love to lay in bed in the mornings and look out the windows at the thick trees, with the cloudy sky overhead. I love to watch the deer moving gracefully through the trees. I love the sound of the rain and the brilliant lightening displays at night. I love to watch the chickens roaming the yard, and our family of cottontails that grazes with them, pretending they can't be seen.

For years I have longed to live somewhere like this. A place that feeds me, like living in Oregon fed me. Who would have dreamed that it would be in Texas! When most people think of Ca, they think of forests and beaches. Beautiful weather and beautiful scenery. But that isn't where we lived. We lived in the desert. The beauty of the desert has always escaped me. I know some people love it, but it has always seemed barren and forsaken to me. It does not nurture and soothe me like verdant landscapes do.

So, I welcome the rain. I revel in the greenery and I thank God for this wonderful, wet summer. My last one here. It's a great note to go out on.

For the Foodies

Have you been to this blog?? It is a food lovers delight. Now, she is not a healthy cook mind you. But everything she posts looks delicious, and I have tried a few with rave reviews. I have made this and this. OOO, this bread was sooo good! And we used the leftover topping as a dip for chips the next day. Seriously, try it. You won't be disappointed.


Baby Poll

A few weeks back the kids and I all made guesses about the birth date, gender, and weight of our new baby. Then when Mike was here he made his. I thought it would be fun if you guys added your guesses to ours. Maybe it will even bring a few non-commenters out of lurkdom :)

I can't figure out how to do a table, so I guess I'll just list them :)

Chance 8/20 Boy 8# 3oz
Hailey 8/23 Girl 8# 11oz
Sierra 8/23 Girl 9# 8oz (she and Eli each weighed this)
Ethan 8/23 Girl 5# (that's my boy!)
Eli 8/23 Boy 30# (!!!)
Ezra 8/23 Girl 30#
Me 8/19 Girl 9#
Dad 8/25 Girl 9# 3oz

As you can see, most of us think this one's a girl. And most of the kids think she will be born on our wedding anniversary. I don't know why I picked early. Eli and Ezra would like to see my name in the Guiness Book of World Records, but Ethan has my back.

Anyone want to play?

Baby Countdown

I was looking at the baby counter at the top of my blog when I wrote the last post. Do you see that it says the baby is 33 weeks and 6 days old!! That means 34 weeks tomorrow. Which means of course that I am due 6 weeks from tomorrow. What kind of madness is that?

Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled beyond words to be blessed with another baby. This baby has been long prayed for and we will all love having another little one in the house.

Also, it's not like this pregnancy has been a breeze and I just can't believe we are nearing the end. And late pregnancy carries it's own joys and tribulations. BUT...Can I really be due in only 6 weeks? How will I ever be ready?

I have a crib, it's even set up because we never took it down when Ezra moved to a big boy bed. But I will likely co-sleep and the crib will go unused for another 9 months or so. I have a swing (thanks Joni!). And I have...oh, that's right, nothing else :) But babies don't need much. I probably should pick up some t-shirts in the next month or so. Maybe some diapers :) I really, really hope to get a rocking chair.

But the lack of those things isn't what makes me feel unprepared. Those are just things, I can manage without them. No, what I am really lacking is TIME :) If you've never noticed, whales don't move very well on land. I am s-l-o-w. I really wanted to have everything done a month before the baby was born. I hoped to have that last month enjoy my children and relax. Well, maybe I can still get 2 weeks.

Once the kitchen/pantry is painted and the tile is finished I can put the whole downstairs back together and that will really help things. Having everything in chaos is really hard for me, and I am far from a neat nik :)

I think I will paint our bedroom/bathroom next. I am tempted to put it off because it is going to be hard, there is a lot of stuff to move and my bedroom will be more chaotic than it is now. It is tempting to do one of the secondary bedrooms first. But I would really like my room done before baby comes. Pretty, clean, organized... A much nicer way to greet baby.

On a happy note, the end of pregnancy usually crawls by. It seems that the weeks last forever and the last month feels like 3. But here the weeks fly by, I am always stunned that the weekend is here again. That another week is behind me. That's good, right?

Show and Tell, Updates and Blessings

I am so grateful for friends. It has been such a blessing to have meals sent home from church, men giving up their free time to lay new tile and rip out the old, willing hands (and backs) to help me paint, and a dozen other things.

Today I was blessed by the daughter of a friend who worked hard with me painting the family room. She had to come our way to drop off her brothers to work with another friend, and her mom, remembering that I am "heavy with child" thought I might need some help :) Isn't that the sweetest thing!?!

It is so wonderful to watch the fruit of these godly families who have given their lives to raise godly offspring. The sacrifice and training that went into the lives of these children is so evident in their sweet spirits, generosity, humility, and willingness to serve. Our family has been often blessed by the efforts of "arrows" being sent forth as one was today. I pray that God has mercy upon our humble efforts that they bear good fruit and can bless others in the way that we have been blessed.

And now, since it is Show and Tell Friday over at Raising 4 Godly Men, a few pictures. I've been meaning to participate for a while, and since home improvement is our focus right now, I think this post will work :)

Okay, it's hard to tell that the colors are greens, they look very pale in the pictures. But really, they are greens. The room with the piano in it is the lightest green, the infamous Frosted Kiwi, but now that it isn't competing with the sunshine for a bit of recognition it's letting the frost thaw a little and the kiwi come forth.

The dining room is the darkest, and the family room is between the 2 shades. I didn't prettify anything for you and the family room is obviously not put back together. It only has one coat and the fireplace is only primered, but isn't it going to look great?!? I think I am going to paint the middle section of the fireplace the green that is in the dining room. The rest of it will be white. What do you think?
Do you remember what these rooms used to look like? I have been really bad about taking "before" shots, but you can get an idea from this post, and this one.


Tea Party Tales

The girls were telling us a story at dinner tonight. I seems that a while back they were throwing a tea party for their dolls. The didn't have any cookies, so they took some cactus that was growing in the yard and picked with thorns off. Then they split it open and tore it into several pieces to be the tea cookies. After preparing all of this and laying them neatly on a tree branch, they went into the house to get their dolls.

When they got back they found Eli, standing next to the tree and polishing off the last of the cactus "cookies." "MMMM, good tea party!"

Too funny!

Stinging Bugs and Serpents

There are many things I will miss when we leave Texas. But one thing I WONT miss is scorpions. We killed 2 today. Eli found one in the cupboard (a BIG one), and then there was one on the floor of the girls room tonight. I loathe scorpions. I've not been stung, and I have been told that actually getting stung takes a lot of the fear out of it. Maybe....But let's just say that it hasn't worked for the members of the household that have been stung :)

I don't like snakes either. AT ALL. We have heard lot's of snake stories this year. It seems with all the rain that they are out in force. We hadn't seen any though. Until last night. The girls went out to lock the chickens up for the night and Hailey looked in the box for eggs before she started putting them in. She noticed what she thought was a hose or toy of some sort and started to pick it up when it moved! She looked closer and says she saw at least 2 big black snakes. Well, one was big, the other was less so. They hot tailed it into the house screaming SNAKE! So I grabbed my shoes and a shovel and ran out to make quick work of them. NOT!

I'll tell you what really happened, but your going to really question the wisdom of my husband leaving us to fend for ourselves out here :) Chance decides to shoot them with the .22. Of course, it takes 20 minutes to locate the .22, and then we have to find the keys to open the gun case. And then we have to find the ammunition. All of this is accomplished and Chance takes the gun to the garage to load it. Just then we receive a providential phone call from the aforementioned husband. Who says, of course, "He can't shoot snakes with that gun! He's going to go through 30 rounds and destroy the box and the snakes will probably still get away. He needs a shotgun and we don't have one. He needs to take a shovel out there and kill them."

I won't even mention the loading "issues." :)

Of course by the time the shovel was actually got and they all traipsed out to get the snakes, they were long gone.

The girls left a couple of eggs in the box today to try to lure them back, but they didn't come.


Happy Cowboy

Good Times

We hope you all had a pleasant July 4th holiday. We had a very enjoyable day together, especially since daddy was here to celebrate with us. In the evening we joined several other families for dinner, games, and English Country Dancing. We capped it off by watching the fireworks display at the fairgrounds. Well, we weren't at the fairgrounds, but the fireworks were. We were sitting in the rain, across the road from the fairgrounds. It was really a great evening.
The only disappointment for the children was that they were really hoping to do some sparklers themselves. We tried to get some on the way, but the only stand we passed was sold out.
So, on the way home daddy decided to try a few more stands that were a little out of our way. And Lo and Behold, the second one had sparklers. Almost nothing else, but lots of sparklers.
So, last night we built a little fire and made s'mores. Then we let the kids light the sparklers. Such fun! No one fell in the fire. Although a few gave it a good shot. No one lit the property on fire, also not for lack of trying. But we definitely had a gooey good time.


The Thumb

Chance thought you would enjoy seeing a picture of "The Thumb." It's a bit anti-climactic if you ask me :) It just doesn't seem like that little cut should have produced SO MUCH BLOOD. Blood that I am still finding...

Nonetheless, here it is. And honestly, I'm very grateful that it isn't worse.

A Couple More Pictures

Eli insisted that I take his picture with his bandana on, what do you think? Better than the other choices?

And here he is all gussied up for church. (I do make him leave his hat and gun in the van during services) He tells everyone he meets that he is a cowboy, and he has cap guns, and when he is bigger he is going to get a horse. Seriously, any time someone makes the mistake of saying "Hi" they get "I am Eli. I am 5 years old. For my birthday I got a cowboy hat, and boots and a vest..."

I love this picture though :)