Friday, July 30, 2010

Another scrapbook caught up!

Callie's scrapbook is complete with journaling and pictures! While it was emotionally draining to go through some of her trials in the first 2 years, I am glad that she will have that record of her life...to know how far she has come, and just how proud we are of her! That makes 3 scrapbooks down, 3 to go!

With Brianna's birthday tomorrow, I will be taking a break from working on the scrapbooks to prep for her party. She wants to have a princess castle cake, which takes a bit of time on my part! (though I wouldn't trade it for anything - when the twins DIDN'T want a princess castle cake last year, it made me realize that this is something I enjoy doing for my children to make their birthday special...it isn't something they are going to want forever, so I will enjoy the time I have when they are little!)

Even with a busy weekend, I will keep my original scrapbook goal for the end of this week of having the last 2 years worth of pictures sent to Costco for printing and having Ashley's journalling done by Friday...and I am feeling better about being able to get it done now!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Moving onto Callie's scrapbook!



Brianna and Justice's scrapbooks are all caught up and all the journaling is done! Woohoo! This is a huge thing for me! It means that on Wednesday, I have already completed the goal for the week!

Today, as I was going through the pages of pictures I set up for Callie, thinking of what to say (I do much of my journaling on the computer, print it out and glue it in!) and typing it out, I relived many of those hard moments...trying to find the words of having to leave her, so tiny and helpless in the hospital...going through the realization that she wasn't just developmentally delayed because she was a preemie, or even because of her eyes, but because she truly has a disability that she must deal with throughout her life. Going through her difficulties (I put a picture of her last eye surgery) and highlighting her triumphs (like picture here from the day she learned to crawl forward - at 16 months old!)...I know pregnancy hormones don't help, but wow, what an emotionally draining day! Overwhelmingly, with everyone else, it is not so emotionally draining. It is more happy than anything else...I feel kind of guilty that I feel this way going through pictures of her life! I made it all the way through her book, and will be starting to actually put things in tonight! Hopefully, I can get her book done by the end of tomorrow, and start working on Ashley's book!

By the end of next week, I hope to have Ashley and Callie's scrapbooks caught up with their journaling...which means going back over the almost 3 years for each of them!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Getting back to Family Nights!





We have taken a very long break from doing family nights...I am not even really sure what happened, but the girls have been asking about it for a long time now!

We talked about responsibility. We compared responsibility to blocks we have to carry, and talked about how they may carry them however they like (each of them put the blocks into their shirt so they had their hands free!). We made an obstacle course to represent going through our day. Then we timed everyone going through the obstacle course with more and more blocks. Then we added another obsticle that they needed to keep their hands on...which added lots of time! We talked about how adding more responsibility made it more fun to go through because they added challenge, but also made our times slower.

Then we read the parable of the servants who were given the talents. We talked about ways we can be more responsible. We talked about ways we can learn and earn responsibility. All in all, we had a great time together learning Biblical truths and principals!

After our family night, my younger 4 went to bed, and we played clue with the twins. They really enjoy the times we let them stay up for something special like that! We talked a little more about how they have more responsibility than the younger ones, but they also get more privileges, too!

This morning, Anna thanked me for doing a family night, and said she hopes to have them each week again. What a great way to teach them godly principals.

*scrapbooking goals - my first goal for the end of the weekend to have all of the pictures I printed put into their books was completed! I was even able to start on the goal I have for the week of journaling in Brianna and Justice's books!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I have the best husband!




Today we were getting a table we were given cleaned up to be brought in and used. And the table we were using is going into the shop to be repaired and refinished. While out there, cleaning and scrubbing, my wonderful husband suggested that we refinish it...he has now spent his Saturday (and not even a day off at that for him!) scrubbing, sanding, stripping, scraping, staining, and clear coating this table for us! It is bigger than the one we were using, and it is looking beautiful! I am so thankful for such a wonderful, self sacrificing husband who would take the time to do this for me! Every time I look at this table, I am going to think of him and all the hard work he does for me and our family! The twins have each taken turns going out to help work on the table, but come in saying it is too hot!

While he has been working hard outside on one of the hottest days of the year, I have been taking care of children in the cool basement, getting laundry done and scrapbooking.

We will end tonight with getting all of our children to bed and having a date night in! Summer sausage, cheese and Ritz crackers and a movie...all in all, it is a productive and fun Saturday!

As for the scrapbooking goals I posted, I think I will make the goal for this weekend! So far, I have put pictures in Ashley and Anna's books, and am going downstairs to start working on Bailey's now. I am hopeful that I will get that done tonight while watching movies and will start on journalling in Brianna's book!

Friday, July 23, 2010

24 weeks!


After having several pregnancy losses and preemies, this is a huge milestone. It means Serenity has reached the point of being viable outside the womb! I realize that viability has changed, and now babies as young as 21 weeks are able to make it outside the womb, but I still use 24 weeks as a big milestone! The next big milestone comes at 28 weeks, when the survival rate dramatically increases.

My midwife appointment went well earlier this week. I have a couple of things to try allergy wise. (Though with the weather having decided what season we are in, they are getting better on their own, Praise be to God!!!) My next appointment I will take the glucose tolerance test, which is means we will have made it to the 3rd trimester already! Wow! Some days, it seems like time is going so slowly, but others, it seems like this baby will be here before I am ready, lol!

scrapbooking goals...

I am hoping that by posting them here, it gives me the boost in motivation that I need to keep going and get this project completed...

- By the end of the weekend, I would like to have Ashley's pictures put in her book, and the 2 years of pictures I printed for the twins, put in their books.

- By the end of the week, I would like to have Brianna's and Justice's journalling and embellishments done.

- By the end of the following week, I would like to have Ashley's and Callie's journalling and embellishments done. As well as the last 2 years of pictures sorted and ordered for the twins. I would like to have the pictures in their book by the end of that weekend.

- By the twins' birthday, in Dec., I would like to have their journalling and embellishments done...but that is going to be a BIG job - and I am thinking that I will want a break for awhile before even starting it!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Playing with pictures...












Every once in a while, I get into a good groove and make progress to get every one's individual scrapbooks caught up...it means lots of time playing with pictures!

So far, I have done the last year for Brianna, and have pictures waiting at Costco to be picked up for Justice's first year, and Callie's first 2 1/2 years (I am just starting their books!).

It has been so much fun looking back at old pictures! Here are some of the favorites I have found from both Callie and Justice! It is amazing to me how quickly I have forgotten just how tiny Callie was! The pictures of her next to Anna's doll says a lot about her size - the doll isn't very big and Callie had already gained a whole pound on her birth weight!

Justice's birth was such an amazing, relaxing experience after so many hospital births, including 2 c-sections! I loved it when the girls came in the next morning to find we had a new baby in the house!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Age differences


I remember when I was expecting Ashley...I was so concerned that she was so much younger than her sisters (3 1/2 years). I wondered if she would be able to play with them. If they would ever have anything in common. If they would include her in any of the things they did or played. If she would be able to keep up with them...

I was concerned I was taking something special from the twins by giving them a sibling. I was afraid our relationship would never be the same again. I even had moments when I wondered if it was a good idea to have more at all!

I have thought back to those feelings many times - particularly during pregnancies, or during times that we learned that Callie would be different, would her sisters think less of her for her disability?

In watching them play, seeing them interact and listening to them talk to each other, those kinds of fears have melted away. I now see how precious and special it is that my children have eachother, it really is a wonderful gift that they have eachother! I am so glad for their relationships with eachother and that they truly are eachother's best friends! I feel so blessed to be the mom to such an amazing group of children!

While I still wonder how Justice will fair being the only boy for at least a little longer, I also know that it really will all work out! God has a perfect plan for our family and I am excited to see how it unfolds!

I really like this picture today because it shows what happens all the time at my house - all of them playing well together and side by side (not always at the kitchen, but in the sandbox, the water table, helping in the real kitchen, gardening, etc). (Brianna was taking a rest - that turned into a nap - while this was taken.) The younger ones learn so much about life from playing with and beside the older ones. The older ones are learning so much compassion, awareness outside of themselves and understanding and how to teach, instruct and guide young children. Many would say we didn't accomplish much today, but these days, where we just hang out together as a family are so precious and so many lessons are learned by everyone!

Anna and Ashley



My allergies keep getting worse and worse. Today, I am able to see well enough to read, so I am trying to catch up on lots of things - school with the girls, email, housework, bible study homework (because who knows if I will be able to see well enough again to get it done before Tuesday!), getting ready for homechurch, etc!

I had wanted to add to Ashley's ability to ride a bike. There are times when my children have suddenly shown a great deal of maturity. Anna and Ashley have just gone through such a period, and wanted to share how amazing I think they are!

While all of my girls are helpful, lately, Anna has been over the top helpful! She wants to help out and learn to 'be a grown-up,' as she is putting it all the time. She wants to help cook, and clean, and care for the younger ones. She wants to sew, harvest blueberries, learn to preserve them and anything else she can do to help! She is one amazing little girl! What a blessing that she has been so willing to pick up the slack when I have been so incapable of doing this because of my allergies! I praise my God for her, what a precious gift she is to our family!

Ashley is the other who has just grown leaps and bounds lately! She is more able to help out, more willing to try new things, and has accomplished great things! She has lost 3 teeth, stopped sucking her thumb, and has learned to ride a bike. She is able to help take Callie to the bathroom when Callie says she needs to go potty. She is ever more helpful in the kitchen because all of a sudden, she is paying a lot of attention to details! She is also showing a great deal of maturity in her reasoning and logic as well as showing a greater depth of understanding of different things. She is such a bright and cheerful little person with an infectious smile that breaths sunshine into a room! I feel so blessed that God gave her to us.

Watching them grow up, seemingly overnight like this is always bittersweet for me. On one hand, yes, I know they need to grow up and I am so honored and blessed to see the young ladies they are becoming...but on the other hand, it also makes me sad that they are growing up so quickly! Where did the time go? I pray that God would help me to take advantage of each day, with each of my children, to capitalize on each teachable moment and to cherish this time, whether I am feeling good or not, God is good, all the time!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ashley can ride a 2 wheel Bicycle!




She got a slow start as she didn't like riding in the rain (which suited me just fine - I didn't want to spend lots of time in the rain helping her!)...a week of nice weather was all it took! Now that she had got it, every spare moment she had today she spent outside practicing and getting better and better!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer is really here - and a big praise with Callie!





Wow - it has been HOT this week! We are trying to stay cool and beat the heat...which has meant some fun in the pool, playing in the basement (I don't let my girls go outside during the hottest part of the day), and enjoying being together...of course, we are still getting school done (or mostly done this week!), and Callie therapy is continuing as normal as well...again, mostly!

Part of Callie's therapy plan includes a bath in warm water each morning. Normally, I put her in my kitchen sink after breakfast when everyone else is doing morning chores...except on Wed, I had everyone else go directly to the bath after breakfast, and had both babies in the kitchen sink...I have also done this many times!

I got Justice clean, and then Callie dumped a great deal of water over the side of the sink - this happens sometimes, so I told her what I normally tell her, "I will be right back." I look apprehensively at Justice as I left...and hurried with the big oatmeal bag in hand to drop it in the pantry on my way to grab and towel and back to the kitchen. It is one of those things you are 'never' supposed to do, and yet I have done this several times! I rounded the corner back into the kitchen in time to see Callie 1/2 climbing 1/2 falling (head first after she really went!) out of the sink and onto the kitchen floor...I picked her up and she stopped crying almost immediately. She was so tied/sleepy though that I had to keep telling her to keep her eyes open. Justice was still in the sink, so I pulled his wet body out and put him on the floor, not wanting another injury to deal with! With everyone else in the bath upstairs, I called DH for another set of hands...when he didn't answer, I called MIL to come help, fortunately she was almost dressed and ready for the day and could lend another set of hands! that was huge in that first hour or so as we were trying to figure out if she was just stunned or if she really needed medical attention. There was absolutely no swelling, which made me think that she didn't hit her head as hard as I first thought. The only bleeding was from her biting her tongue.

Callie remained really tired, and not really able to talk much for a few minutes, maybe even 1/2 hour...but she kept getting better and better, so we figured by the time we got her to the ER, there would be nothing to see! She had trouble with her balance, but that is really common for anyone with CP! It was hard to determine what is 'normal disability' from 'injury related' in her!

We watched her very closely for about 5 hours, before letting her take nap.

When she woke up yesterday, we noticed her tone was much higher, she had a real fear of falling (even just with standing), and her eyes were crossing...I called the pediatrician, and he said when DH was able to watch everyone else, we should take her in through emergency, just to make sure everything was ok. I was dreading having to go to the ER and tell them, she fell yesterday and we are just now getting around to bringing her in!

We had the very best ER experience I have ever had! The ER doctor was so good about us having waited so long to bring her in! He said evaluating whether medical care is needed from a fall like that is really hard, and we did all the things we should have with ice and monitoring her, and not letting her sleep, etc. They did a CT, and found she has a moderate concussion...that is the good news and the bad news...the alternatives, bleeding on the brain, cracked skull, etc, were worse than just a concussion (though I would have rather she skipped that part, too!). He thinks the loss of balance and increased tone and crossed eyes will fix themselves as she heals. He expects her to make a full recovery on her own! What a blessing! God is so good all the time, even in the midst of hard situations! As the doctor was discharging us, he reassured us that we really did do all the right things, and when we saw there was a problem, we brought her in, which is exactly what we should have done. He also said that the changes we are seeing are really common for any head injury, and it is because we are so in tune with her that we were even able to notice the changes. It made me wonder if we would have noticed in any of my other children...I spend so much time working on Callie's physical abilities during the week, and so any change is very obvious to me...

Brianna and Justice were asleep when I had the camera out...so no pics of them today! They got to play in the water after Mom and I took Callie to the ER.

All of this has made for a very long, challenging week...I feel so far behind in laundry and school it isn't even funny! Hoping to catch up a bit today, now that we know Callie really wil be ok!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Today has been a lesson in thankfulness!







What a day! We started out getting lots and lots done...my 6th load of laundry was in the washer by 9 am. Dinner was in the crock pot. We got the van unloaded and the girls unpacked from the weekend away.

Then we lost power.

Being on a well, that also meant that we lost water.

The dryer was almost finished, so I was able to take things out of there that were still damp to dry outside. The washer was locked...so I had to wait that one out!

Fortunately, we have 2 water sources on the property. One is our well, which requires an electric pump in order to get it into the house. The other is the neighbor's spring, which comes down by gravity. There are only 2 outdoor water spigots that use this so we had to collect our water outside to clean babies up, flush the toilet, and even to drink!

My very resourceful husband thought of a way to try to redeem dinner (a frozen roast w/carrots and potatoes), but it was too late by then...almost 3 hours had passed, and there is just NO WAY my roast will be done in time for tonight's dinner...we will just have to trade tonight's dinner with tomorrow's!

What a blessing it was to be able to talk about being thankful for all the things we have, our modern conveniences and the ability to function without them today! My girls did such a great job pitching in and helping when things didn't quite go as planned!

Now the washer is going once again. I have 1 more load waiting to make it in, and we will be caught up. Fortunately getting a nice early start today made it possible to still get all we needed to done to stay on top of things!

Weekend Happenings

Everyone had a fun weekend.

The twins had a great time in Birch Bay with 2 great aunts/uncles, several of DH's cousins and their children...there were about 20 people who went up there with the twins! And the twins got their school done for Friday and Monday while they were on their trip (this was a condition of them going, but I wasn't sure they would get it all done)! Uncle Jann really liked their science book, and has asked to borrow it when we are finished.

Meanwhile, we had fun, too! (Though we missed the twins a lot!) We went to a family party at another of Chris' aunts house to visit with yet another aunt (his dad has 5 brothers and a sister), who is in town from Arizona. It was good to see her, though I wished I were feeling lots better...my allergies are killing me lately! I am pretty sure it has to do with rearranging furniture and kicking up lots of dust (good progress was made on Saturday though on the classroom switch!) as well as the weather, which can't make up its mind as to what season we are in...sigh...this, too shall pass! It is an opportunity for me to continue to offer up a sacrifice of praise!

I also had a chance to go through every one's drawers and pull out the things that don't fit...which was really good since I had already pulled out some new things from bins for the 3 little girls! Hoping to get some new things for Justice soon as his drawers are pretty bare...I don't have many bigger things for him, lol!

Then Sunday we went to Chris' sister's for a BBQ and fireworks. Something I really don't like doing normally...once my babies get over tired, they normally just cry and scream until we get them to their OWN beds...but both of them fell asleep on the way there, and I sat in the van with them for about an hour until they woke up! Chris held Callie through the fireworks (which she thought were really pretty!) and Justice sat so amazingly still and quite in my lap snuggling, watching the fireworks! With as busy as he has been lately, it was so nice that he was so snugly! It is definitely a time I will cherish in my memory!

Everyone slept in (amazingly!) on Monday! Brianna and Ashley were up at 8:30, and the babies slept in until 9! Callie had her appointment with Dr Epley and it couldn't have gone better! He said she is stable at the moment, so we will just keep doing what we are doing! He said the alignment of her eyes is holding most of the time, and as long as tilting her head up is intermittent, we are going to let it go! No surgery in our immediate future! No glasses needed at this time! Praise God!

I can't believe I almost forgot our other news! Justice took his first steps on Friday! He isn't in too much of a hurry to be walking all over yet, and has only taken a few steps here and there...but it is a start! Further proof that I won't have 3 non-walkers when Serenity makes her appearance in just 4 more months!

Oh, and there are no pictures because my camera broke...the battery cover absolutely fell apart - hoping to get DH or FIL to switch it for the one on the other (dead) camera we have (of the same model) soon so we can get pictures!

Friday, July 2, 2010

A family portrait and a fond farewell

Here's a picture Anna made. It was a nice thing to find from her after she and Bailey left to go to Birch Bay for the weekend! I sure do miss my big girls! I will pick them up on Monday after Callie's appointment with Dr. Epley. I especially miss not being with Bailey on her very favorite holiday of the year (4th of July)!

I hope and pray they have a wonderful time, and look forward to seeing them when they come home!