Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Girls

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Actually, she WAS born yesterday

Meeting Abigail

Today my mom brought the kids to come meet their sister at the hospital. This is a tradition that I love to savor each moment of.

When Daniel was born, the Hannah's first comment was "Put it back."

When our Caleb came, the Hannah and Daniel were interested, but moreso because he was hooked up to lots of machines in the ICU and was really interesting to look at behind the glass bubble.

Now we have Abigail. Hannah is practically beside herself with pure joy. Daniel thinks she is really cute and wants to kiss her ALL the time. And then there is Caleb.

When Caleb walked in and saw me holding Abby, his big blue eyes welled up like giant blue-green tidepools. He didn't cry, but he wouldn't look at me or his sister. Finally, I sent Abby to my mom, and my very sober Caleb climbed into bed with me and just put his head on my shoulder and held me. Since we've come home he has studiously ignored her, and refused to kiss her goodnight, although he did condescend to say "Goodnight, Abby."

Poor Caleb. I knew he was in for a rude surprise. He understands about baby, for sure. In the meantime, I'm trying to find ways to make him feel special during this time too.

Precious Sleeping Baby

She has brown hair . . .

Hannah will be very pleased. She was hoping for a "twin"! Abigail actually does look very much like Hannah did. She has taken to nursing like a champ and is eating quite well.

More pictures

Abigail Katelyn

Here is a first glimpse of the newest little one.


8 lbs. 5 oz.
21.5 in. Long
Born at 8:34 p.m.
Mommy and baby are doing fine.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Debra is in the hospital!

Well, after a few false starts, we are in the hospital and Debra's water is broken.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Sacraments (according to Hannah)

Today during Sunday school, I looked over to see Hannah writing in her notebook. She frequently writes things that are church related in her notebook, along with pictures of the sermon, etc. This was her list of the important things at church:

1. Lord's Supper
2. Baptism
3. Coffee time

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Madame Blueberry

I'm sitting at my computer right now watching a hawk in the tree outside my window systematically take apart another bird. I didn't know birds could spit, but this one is spitting out feathers everywhere as it eats. I wish I could get a picture of this, but I don't want to move... It's pretty amazing to watch.

That wasn't what I intended to write about. First, I want to say that I have no idea how to edit my earlier published post, so just grin and endure the mysterious lines that float through it. If anyone know what happened there, please fill me in!

Yesterday the kids and I checked out several movies from the local library. One of them was Veggie Tales Madame Blueberry. I really got a kick out of the kids' reactions.

Caleb thought it was hilarious. I don't think he got the point at all, but he thought the vegetables were very entertaining. (He also doesn't understand about the upcoming baby. When you ask him where the baby is, he lifts up his shirt and shows you HIS belly button. He's only 2!)

Daniel cried. He felt so sorry for Madame Blueberry losing all of her "stuff" and her house, that he just welled up with sympathy. He also cried through the silly song "His Cheeseburger," because it was sung to an emotional tune. He is my sensitive one, but he also wanted to watch it again today, and didn't cry at all the second time.

Hannah got it! I wouldn't have expected a 5 year old to understand the irony, but she got the lesson AND the jokes! She thought it bad for Madame Blueberry to be discontented and thinking that stuff would make her happy. She thought it hilarious that anyone would sing a love song to a cheeseburger. I agree with her, it is pretty funny.

Back to the hawk outside, it's really pulling on something now. I think I'll see if I can get closer.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What We're Reading

After reading several interesting books this summer, here is a synopsis of what we're intaking...


* Winston Churchill's 6 volume History of the Second World War. I don't even remember the official name of this set, but it was meaty. I'm proud of him for making it all the way through! Let's just say that the sheer size of the books filled a grocery bag. He raved about Churchill's writing, and would on occasion me excerpts. He says, (and I quote) "Reading Churchill gives you a sense of perspective because the same conflict between a combination/acquiescence and taking a bold stand for what is right has been at the center of world politics at least this whole century."

* Islamic Imperialism, by Efraim Karsh. He hasn't finished this one yet, but has made a few favorable comments, such as "Fascinating. Interesting because it helps you get into the Islamic mind by tracing their history and giving you a sense of 'that's why they do that!'"

Peter with Hannah:

* The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S.Lewis. I didn't think Hannah would get into this series (she's only 5), but I was wrong! She loved it! Her favorite books were The Horse and His Boy, and The Last Battle. Not one to shy away from battle scenes, I guess.

Debra with Hannah:

* Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan. This is a truly classic allegory of one's walk of faith from leaving a life of sin behind, to coming to the cross of Christ, to progressing in faith, to entering into God's eternal rest. We actually read the children's version, Little Pilgrim's Progress, which basically makes Christian, the main character, a child. We had some great discussions on this book, and now we're watching the video series, The Dangerous Journey, as a follow-up before we start Christiana's story.


* The Spiritual Power of a Mother, by Michael P. Farris. This book is good clean encouragement for moms, just in case you ever wonder if you are doing any good in a sometimes thankless work. I loved his realism, and would recommend this to any mom, especially any homeschool mom who is discouraged with her homeschooling, and thinking of putting her children in a structured school setting.

* Homeschooling Methods, ed. Paul & Gena Suarez. After starting my search for quality homeschool curriculum in the spring, I realized that I really needed to start with my approach, or philosophy of school. Let me just tell you, there is a HUGE curriculum market out there, and it is slick and competitive. I don't remember my mom struggling with her philosophy of school when she homeschooled my brother. It was just RIGHT. Now people have a multitude of reasons for it, and many of them are not spiritually rooted. This book does a good job of letting key proponents of 10 major approaches to homeschooling speak their best pitch to the reader. It covers everything from the classical method to the eclectic, Charlotte Mason to Carschooling (yes, that really is a "method"). After reading through the entire book, only the very last chapter rang a bell with me, and led me to read the next book...

* When You Rise Up, a Covental Approach to Homeschooling, by R.C.Sproul, Jr. This book is more about approaching homeschooling under the premise of discipling your children than a "how to" book. In fact, at times I wished he would have let his wife chime in and say "and this is HOW we do it." At any rate, it was full of vision about directing your studies around training up a child in the way they should go, using the model in Deuteronomy 6:4-7, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up."

The greatest thing that I gained from this book was that every moment from wake-up to go-to-bed is a teachable moment. We don't have to be sitting in the school room to be learning. There are many other "methods" compatible with this approach (ie. Charlotte Mason, etc.), but the point is that you are raising up disciples for God's kingdom, not the world's. Therefore, it doesn't matter to me so much if my child is well versed in Egyptology in elementary school, and can debate great Socratic thoughts in high school, so much as Do they love God? Are they loving each other as He has loved them? Now, I'm just trying to flesh this out on a day to day basis. It is much easier to make sure that we're getting through our math lessons on "schedule," than to take each teachable moment (like when somebody pops a toy on someone else's head), and use it to talk about the lovingkindness of God. There is no check-off sheet available to disciple your child, but this is what counts for eternity.

* Passionate Housewives Desperate for God, by Jennie Chancey & Stacy McDonald. I'll admit that the title is what caught my attention here. This book is all about recovering a vision for the importance of being a housewife/homemaker/domestic engineer, or I told the guys at the bank the other day, the Official Booboo Kisser. Here is an excerpt that I think summarizes the point of the book (p. 91-92)

"You see, homemaking is far more than housekeeping. We need to toss out narrow modern-day conceptions that are built around stereotypes and restore our vision based upon God's Word. When we do, we can begin to understand why the biblical family is an indispensible foundation stone of a healthy society - and what happens when that stone is removed.

You want to watch a culture self-destruct? Eliminate the fathers, make the mothers neglect their children, and teach everyone to forsake the weak, the needy, and the elderly. It has happened before. Just read your history. The Spartans declared that children were the property of the State, better trained by experts than by their own parents. The ancient Romans exposed unwanted babies and the elderly, leaving them to die in isolation. Euthanasia and abortion are not new, nor are the less distasteful sins of family disintegration and the welfare state.

These things are happening in our nation now, just as they have happened in the past when men and nations rejected God's ways. Man without Christ is lost. Families who reject the clear biblical commands for fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, and children are doomed to follow the same downward spiral, no matter how "relevant" their counselors tell them they are boing.

God's Word raises a standard His people can confidently trust. This is why ancient Israel had strong laws to protect widows, orphans, and strangers. It is why Christians went against cultural trends in pagan Rome, rescuing babies and the unwanted from exposure and certain death. It's why they boldly took care of plague victims when pagen doctors fled, causing heathen kings to note their genuine hospitality and fearlessness. Vibrant Christian homes where families work together, contented in God's wise division of labor, can quite literally change the world."

And later on page 92: "The home is a tiny world - a cosmos all to itself. Do you want to rule the world? God has given you the universe of your home to manage. Your job is to make this small kingdom a picture of God's greater kingdom - a kingdom in which the subjects are in order and obey their king; a kingdom where beauty shines in every word and deed; a kingdom that welcomes friends and strangers with abundant hospitality and gracious care."

Wow. After reading this pep talk I felt like I had been empowered with the greatest task on earth! But all pride aside, I was refreshed in my calling as a wife/mother/Official Booboo Kisser/keeper at home. I recommend it to really any female.

* And the last book: A Christian Woman's Guide to Childbirth, by Debra Evans. I skimmed this book when I was pregnant with Hannah, but I really read it this time around. After coming out of my last childbirth experience with rather negative thoughts, I'll admit I've been dreading it this time around. With only 2 weeks to my due date, I think I've finally reconciled that yes, she's gonna have to come out - and soon. (It's a she, by the way!) What I appreciated about this book was coming away with the sense that God has made my body to do this task, hurt as it may! But that He will give me the grace to endure it all. After many tears and soul-searching talks with Peter, I think we've come up with a birthplan we can live with: if it is really fast (like Daniel was born REALLY fast) - Great! Roll with it all! I didn't even have time to be medicated with him. BUT, if it has to be long, drawn out, painful, and medically controlled/augmented, let there be pain relief! (Part of my problem is that I am terrified of needles...) At any rate, we're trusting God for a safe delivery and a healthy baby. The doctor already didn't think I'd go this long, so every day I think "Today's the day!"

And for now, tonight is tonight, I'm going to bed.

Buddy's 4th Birthday

Daniel the Buddy turned 4 a few weeks ago. He's such a delight. I can't even think of him without having the corners of my mouth turn up a little bit. He's just full of energy, enthusiasm, and a little bit of impish fire. I love this guy.

Here are a few photos to share of Daniel over the past few months.

Swimming at Brooke & Erin's pool

Teasing somebody! He quite frequently has something up his sleeve...

At Pump It Up for someone else's birthday party

Planting a dead fish in the corn in Daddy's garden (Hannah's suggestion for the ultimate resting place for her recently deceased pet fish, Goldie, after reading about the Pilgrims).

Talking, talking, talking! I think he's telling me about boating with Daddy.

Playing pretend. He received this great train engineer costume from Granny and Grandpa for his birthday. He is so thrilled to have something really "cool" to wear to play dress-up with Hannah! He LOVES trains.

Happy Birthday, my Daniel. God has shined His face upon you, and you are a delight to your mommy and daddy. We love you!!!


In an earlier post I had mentioned my dad's recent struggle with Parkinson's Disease (PD), and subsequent depression. I am happy to report that he is over the hump, and is stabilized as to both. He is also not experiencing the same leg pain. After many doctor visits, they have finally determined that...he was overexercising. I didn't know exercise could be a problem. People with PD are supposed to exercise regularly! At any rate, now that he's not working out so vigorously, he's doing well. God is so good. Thank you for your prayers.

But don't stop praying yet.

Now he's broken his back! Poor Dad. When he restarted the last PD medication, it was one that makes him very very sleepy. So sleepy that he pretty much had to take the entire week off of work, just to acclimate his body. One morning about 3 weeks ago now, he woke up in the morning to take his next medication. He went into the kitchen to get some water and then passed out. Along the way, he landed on his tailbone on the tile floor and gained two compression fractures in his lower back.

What I can't understand is why it took nearly 3 weeks to diagnose the problem. He has been enduring a lot of pain, and we've all been told (and believed) that this was just a bad muscle strain. Hmmmm....Compression fractures call for a different treatment that muscle strain too, by the way.

For his part, I will say that he's not complaining. I think he's just happy to know what is wrong, so he can know what to do about it.

At any rate, please keep him in your prayers still.