Saturday, November 27, 2010

Time to deck the halls!









What a fun day we have had getting ready to celebrate the birth of our savior! The girls enjoyed looking through their special ornaments and putting them on the tree (along with many others!).

I love seeing their excitement and hearing them say, "I remember this from last year!" I like being able to tell them things like, "Your grandma made this for your Daddy the year he was born." Or, "My mom made this when she was a little girl." Or, "Your Great Grandma Ling made this for your Daddy." What a joy and a privilege to share in these memories with my children!

Now that boxes have been emptied, and we are down to things we don't know what to do with, everyone has dispersed...leaving me to figure out these last few things and clean up the colossal mess that has exploded around our decorating, lol! But not until after I nurse my sweet baby who I hear calling me!

Friday, November 26, 2010

We have a tree in the house






Yes, our annual day-after-Thanksgiving tradition has been achieved! We have found our Christmas tree for this year. We had lots of fun trudging through the snow at the tree lot, looking for just the perfect tree to bring into our house and decorate. It is important to have just the right number of spiders and such! The girls even got to have a snowball fight with their Daddy while ducking in and out of the trees! What a fun and special day! I am so glad be apart of all of this chaos, lol! (It wasn't that long ago that I was very, very sick and had to miss out on getting a tree - catching the twins' scrapbooks up reminded me of it, making me even more thankful for this year's experience!!!)

Now that the tree is in, and up, the decorations are down (though most of them are not yet out of the bins!)...everyone gets to wait until tomorrow, lol! I know, it seems like a cruel joke, but it is true. After everyone goes to bed tonight, I will put the lights on the tree, and I will set out all the ornaments. Tomorrow morning, after breakfast, everyone will be able to decorate the tree with the ornaments.

The middle girls are currently having fun playing with the 2 nativity sets we have to play with. The twins are busy sewing Christmas presents. The little 3 are all taking naps.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!






There are so many things that I am thankful for in my life...my amazing husband, wonderful children, and a God who cares about the little things, just to name a few...

Here are some pictures from our family's celebration today.

This is Justice's kind of holiday - one where we get together and EAT. He Had a blast, and I think he was eating most of the day!

I didn't get many pics of the older ones to post on the blog as they were playing with lots of cousins and friends, and I didn't take the time to get permission to post pics of others...

It was great to get together with family and friends, and to catch up with everyone. Now we are officially into the Christmas season...time to pull out the decorations - oh, wait, the twins did that as soon as we got home tonight, lol!

To answer the question about Justice and Callie's walker - YES, he LOVES her walker, he is very capable of using it as intended, but prefers to use it as a jungle gym, lol! He has a blast riding on the back while Callie walks!

Poor tired baby! -->

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

And now for something completely different...







A new look for the twins!

We got hit with a pretty big snow storm (for Western, WA at least!), so we took a couple of snow days and enjoyed playing outside in the snow - which has meant an increase in laundry, and even less time for school and therapy - but I think it is worth it in the end, to really enjoy my children and being a family!

I am feeling better from my last post. I have a truly amazing husband who is so willing to help out, and forgiving when things do not get finished! I am so blessed and privileged to be his wife! I did decide to do something for myself. I need to get into better health, so I have started (again) working out each day...and I feel better because of it!

Callie's therapy is still pretty hit or miss...but I think at times, it is important to let her be a 'normal' child, and let her have the time off to play in the snow with her sisters! We are still very committed to the program, and are doing as much as we can, when we can.

Snow Ice Cream Recipe:
1 Gallon clean Snow (or more)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup half and half
1 TBLS vanilla
1/2 cup milk (use as much as you like for the desired consistancy
Mix all ingredients and serve immediently

Friday, November 19, 2010

Not sure if it is just a little bit of baby blues, but I am definitely feeling overwhelmed!

Dishes, laundry, school, extra curricular activities, field trips, baby care, hygiene for 7 children, cooking, cleaning, therapy, working out, odds and ends that come up, individual time with each of my children; making sure to meet them where they are...then there are the holidays coming up, with our family traditions...I certainly do not want any of us to miss out on those wonderful memories! And the twins' birthday.

It seems there is just not enough time in the day to get it all done. I love the book, Managers Of Their Homes by Teri Maxwell. She lays out how to set up a schedule in easy to tackle steps. Unfortunately, when I did that this time, I came up with 20 hours worth of things that need to be done each day...leaving me with just 4 hours (interrupted hours as I am nursing a newborn!), to sleep each day...

Now comes to touch decisions on what to let go, and how to keep up with everyone...or how to multi-task better to have more time to get things done...through lots of prayer and seeking what God would have me do.



When it all becomes too overwhelming I look at this precious little face, that was knit together in my womb by our Awesome Creator, and I know that God has a plan. It is my choice to trust in that plan, leave it in His hands, and watch Him at work. I know that He has a plan and purpose for me and for each and every one of my children. I must choose to put my trust in Him every moment of every day. God has never failed me before. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dr. Epley made my day!

Callie went to see her eye surgeon, Dr. Epley today. She had a great appointment!

Her current vision is better than average for her age (20/20, average is 20/30), and her left eye is stronger than it was last time. (Weakness in her left eye has been an ongoing issue we have been working on...

But that isn't the best part! Dr. Epley asks about what therapies we are doing. I told him about her Neurodevelopmental therapy program. He had lots of questions about the vision activities she is doing. At the end, he said that he thinks that is why her alignment is better than it was last time! He definitely wants us to keep us with all of those vision activities Callie is doing.

Just in case you missed the big deal about this - it means Callie's new therapy is WORKING! It is another way that we can SEE results!

Now to get back to her therapy program consistently while still nursing a newborn, adding in working out for me, and school for the older girls...

Callie does have to go back on atropine every day to every other day (I get to choose), to help strengthen her left eye, which she isn't going to like...but what we are doing is working, and we are 1/2 a step farther away from another eye surgery for Miss Callie!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Serenity's shower

What a blessing it truly is to have friends who enjoy celebrating new life! We were so blessed by people coming out to celebrate the birth of Serenity and Violet (a friend's baby born 5 days before Serenity).

We were also given many cute outfits that we can't wait to play dress up with! Pictures to come...

Thank you so much to everyone who was able to come celebrate new life with us, and a special thanks to Grace for setting it all up!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Why such a big infant bath?








With the weekend that we have had, I thought about writing about Bailey falling off the platform swing, head first (she is ok, no concussion, just a goose egg on her forehead, a lingering headache and rug burns on her face), or Anna falling off the couch (she is a big more banged up...she tried knocking out a [permanent] tooth, but the dentist thinks it will reattach itself if she doesn't chew for the next several days. He will be doing x-rays on it tomorrow to hopefully confirm this. Otherwise, her lip looks like a golf ball is stuck in it, and she is pretty sore. She can only eat soft foods for several days...), but decided to do something more fun!

I thought the title of this post was a good question posed on Serenity's first bath post...and one that is really cute to answer in the form of pictures!

The Eurobath is actually intended for 1 baby at a time, laying down when they are really little, then sitting up when they get bigger - but I started with twins, and put them both in at the same time starting when they could both sit up well enough!

The laying down side still makes for a very easy way to wash Callie and Justice's hair.

I also decided to throw in some other pictures from the last week that I thought were cute!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thankfulness

What are you thankful for this November?

Anna:
I am thankful for my family.

Bailey:
I am thankful that God came to the earth.

Ashley:
I am thankful for my baby sister, Serenity.

Brianna:
I am thankful for my dolly, Sally Molly Pence.

Callie:
I am thankful for my baby doll.

Mom:
I am thankful for so much this year! An awesome God who loves me enough to send His son to die for my sins. My wonderful husband who listens to God's leading for our family. Me amazing children, who teach me so many lessons each and everyday. What a blessing it has been and continues to be living on 5 acres for everyone to run and play! I am so very thankful that God blessed me with a new little life to care for! I am grateful to have my hands and heart full. It is a blessing to be busy!

I am so thankful for the opportunity to teach my children about the awesome God we serve, who created us, numbered our days and has a plan and purpose for each of our lives!

What are you thankful for this year?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Never a dull moment!







In a family with 7 children, there is always noise, commotion, chaos, and something going on! While there are challenges that come up, it is also a blessing to be busy! It is a blessing to have the noise and chaos around me all the time! Even on a day when it is cold and wet, and everyone needs to stay inside, when we have no school going, and I have no extra chores for anyone to do, things are still going on!

My middle girls all have pretty good coughs going...as do I. But it isn't slowing any of them down very much, lol! Justice is also not feeling great, but doesn't have the cough the rest of us can't seem to shake.

Serenity is a bit congested while she deals with the cold that everyone else has...and can't breath while laying down. So last night was pretty restless for me as I held her more upright. It was a great opportunity though to reflect on what a miracle a tiny baby is...what an awesome God I serve...and praise Him for all of the pandemonium that makes up my household!

Fortunately, my twins are now feeling better (after not feeling well last week), and were able to manage everyone while I took the opportunity to sleep in today!

Today is the 2nd day after Serenity's birth that we are getting back into Callie's therapy - after nearly 2 weeks off! So far, it is going pretty well! We got all but 2 things done yesterday, and I hope to get all of them done today!

I love the way my girls entertain each other! From coloring and drawing to making up new games, to playing music, or dancing. It is such a blessing that they are such great friends and get along together so well!

The twins decided to take advantage of the week off to start making Christmas presents of their own design! I don't think I could have done as well as Bailey has done designing and making Jesus in the manger and Mary NOW, let alone when I was 9 years old!

This cold, rainy, November day happens to be my mother's 53rd birthday. I appreciate all she did for me in giving me life! I thank God that she chose to let me live! My mom taught me a great many lessons, some good and some not so good (as I am sure my children will say of me one day!)...I was kind of hoping that Serenity would hold out to share her Grandmother's birthday...even though she didn't, we have this tiny, precious newborn to remind us just how fragile life is, how great of a God we serve, how true it is that this life is but a moment, a vapor, and what really matters is eternity.

Thanks for still being able to teach me lessons, Mom, and happy birthday! I praise and thank my God for your life!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Video of Callie walking!

Callie's balance is improving, as are her motor planning skills. Today, for this video, she took 11 steps for the first time! That is the farthest she has been able to go yet - and her overall control for each step is getting better! You can see in the video that Callie still has a long way to go...her adductors (muscles that help hold the hips in alignment while walking) are still weak, which is a big part of why her hip goes outside of her frame for many of her steps...it is something we are working on!

Back to normal daily life...



Starting today we are adding back in my workout and Callie's therapy...so far, we have yet to do any of it, but we will, lol!

Callie has had about 2 weeks off of her therapy (though the twins have done a few things with her almost every day without being asked!), and we are getting back to it! Here's hoping she is very cooperative after having such a long break!

My biggest concern with Callie's therapy was that she would regress if we had to stop after Serenity was born...we did need to stop, but really, she has done very well! She is working on some activities on her own, and the twins have done others with her! Her balance is continuing to improve, and yesterday, she even took 9 very controlled steps in a row, which is her most yet! I am hoping to get some of those controlled steps on video today to post on the blog!

Before I get into Callie's therapy, I am going to get in my first workout in a couple months...I have GOT to get in better shape!

We also went to visit Grandma Marie and Grandpa Keith. I got a pretty good picture, so I posted it!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Doing things with 3 non-walkers...

It definitely makes life more challenging! Before, I could pick up both Callie and Justice if I needed to move them both at the same time for whatever reason...but in the last week of being out and about a bit more with THREE non-walkers, there is a whole new dimension of challenge, lol!

It goes pretty well with everyone going from one place to another. Typically, Anna, Bailey and I each take a baby, and we go. After several different tries, we did find that it is easiest to take a double stroller for Callie and Justice and put Serenity in my Ergo.

I also found that for the first time, I can't do it alone...today at church, I really wanted/needed to take Callie, Justice and Serenity out of the sanctuary with me, oh, and I needed the diaper bag. But I couldn't actually figure out how to do it all...I was holding a floppy newborn, I put the diaper bag over my shoulder, I held Callie's hand (which was a challenge by itself since she couldn't keep her feet under her!), and had no way to bring Justice out - so I left him for his Daddy to take care of! While my husband was just fine with this, he did have to leave with Justice for awhile, leaving our older 4 unattended in their seats...Not sure what else I could have done, but I need to figure something out!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pediatrician appointment and a trip to the park








Serenity is doing just fine...

The doctor however (the 1 doctor in the practice we have had and do not like, I might add!), believes that birth and babies and children should be left to the pro - fessionals she had about 20 questions that started out "What would have happened if..." during the birth...How and where would we have transferred, and what would make us transfer, who would make that call, who was qualified to do the newborn check up, what did they check for, how were we monitoring Serenity's jaundice, did she have access to the necessary medications after birth like eye ointment, vit k and hep B...and on and on she went...I answered her questions, giving the least amount of information possible!

Then the doctor asked about the older ones (who were with me at the time), and why weren't they in school, and have they had flu shots, etc...When I said they are homeschooled she even asked me what we had done that day for school then...and if I was coping with everything ok. I told her they completed their standardized testing for the week, and had the rest of the week off...she asked if it was legal for me to just make up my own schedule like that...sigh. Fortunately the other docs in the practice do not see their role as a physician as telling people how to raise their children!

We took Serenity in so that the peds office would have a file for her, so that in the event she does get sick and need a doctor, she is now an established patient. Mission accomplished!

After the stressful peds appointment, we went to the park to play and eat lunch! Everyone had a great time! Serenity ate at the peds office, then slept while we were at the park, and ate again about the time we went back to the van - it was perfect timing!

Justice and Callie did so well climbing on everything at the park! The twins were so willing to help them to do different things that they needed help with, like pushing them on the swings. Brianna did such a good job helping Justice walk from place to place at the park! And, as is typical, Ashley made several new friends.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My bear bottom baby gets her first bath and photo shoot w/siblings






Serenity lost her cord stump, so it was time to give her first bath...everyone had a great time...except Serenity, lol!

With a nice clean baby, and since all 6 of the older ones had showers last night, we decided to have a photo shoot! I will post more from the shoot later, but this last pic is my favorite of all 7 of them together...it is definitely a challenge to get everyone looking and smiling at the same time!