31 July 2013

fear and trembling...

I enjoy going to the pool (basically in my back  yard) during the babies’ nap. I take the baby monitor with me and I can hear both of them if it's in the upstairs hallway. I like to recharge somewhat so my patience will last through the afternoon and evening hours that sometimes get me a little frazzled by the time Drew comes home.

One day I was coming back from the pool, thinking I’d clean up and get dry before they woke…and I saw a young boy (about 15-16) sitting on the curb in front of my neighbor’s house (2 doors down). He came up to me as I walked around the corner of my house, and asked if he could use my bathroom because his friend wasn’t home yet. I like to be nice, and it seemed like a reasonable request. So I figured, why not? My foyer bathroom is easily accessible without him really entering my home…so I opened the door and let him in, but stayed right outside the front door with the door wide open. After him being in there for what seemed like forever, and no toilet noises being made, I decided that I wanted to have 911 dialed into my phone just in case he came out armed or forcefully (he did have a backpack). He started to open the bathroom door, VERY VERY QUIETLY, (like you do when a baby is sleeping…turning the doorknob and slowly pushing it open…) and when he saw I was outside on the porch (that’s what you can see from the bathroom when the door is open; the front porch), I angled my phone so he could see that I’d dialed in 911. I noticed the light was off in the bathroom and then he closed the door, exactly as slowly and quietly as he’d opened it! Then I was really freaked out because I realized he had expected me to come in and close the door and once he saw I hadn’t, he wasn’t ready to come out. So I called 911, and explained the situation and they dispatched an officer. After talking (within earshot of the kid) to the dispatcher for a few minutes, he finally came out, shaking his hands and asking for a paper towel. At the moment I just wanted him out of my house where my babies where, so I didn’t even think, just lied “no, I’m sorry”. Later I realized what a strange request it was; there was a regular towel hanging in the bathroom. I am assuming that since I didn’t come inside with him, he was attempting to get me to. The original reason I stayed on the porch was so that he couldn’t come back out of my house claiming that I had done something to him…since he seemed young to me. And I’m still so glad I did that. Even after him hearing me speak to the dispatcher and describe him to them, he didn’t offer an explanation or anything, just walked down the sidewalk. When he saw the police drive up, he ambled on down and out of sight. I was pretty paranoid for a few days afterward…making sure all my doors were tightly locked and the blinds closed…I’ve never felt so close to a disaster. Honestly I have NO idea what he was up to, but his story was so odd that I had to play it safe. Later, looking back, I realize that there was also a Johnny house he would’ve seen if he’d come the same direction that he left. Very strange indeed.


Well, apparently after all I went through to make sure Thayer’s birth would be insured {and believe me, it was a LOT}, the billing company told us that they were NOT going to cover it because of the place of birth. Sigh. There are a lot of details I won’t go into, but the summary is that we really needed the refund for my maternity care, and were counting on it from the time I realized we qualified for state insurance. I and my midwives made it very clear to them (the HMO) on the phone when we were seeking the verification of benefits and the in-network exception, that it would be a home birth with certified midwives. After they sent me a letter saying they WOULD cover it, at “in network benefit”, they are telling us they actually won’t, because of the fact our birth was at home. My wonderful mother, my awesome father-in-law and I all put our writing skills together and are writing an appeal and we will see how it goes… Please pray for us! Even though the outcome I WANT is for them to reimburse us for the birth, God’s will is going to be done, whether that is for the appeal to change their minds, or for them to refuse it again, and we will need prayer to help us to rest and know God has a better plan for us. Thanks in advance!

30 July 2013

"bless the Lord, O my soul"

I guess I sing this song a lot. (10,000 Reasons) I must, because I don't remember listening to it since Trevor's choral concert. But the other day as I was preparing some Weecycled stuff for another consignor ("Busy Mom Service"), I hear the sweet little voice of my 22 month old singing "Bless the Lord, O my soul, worship His holy name."

There is truly nothing like it. I am amazed at what she picks up, and at the same time it terrifies me because without realizing it, I've shared something with her, and she's absorbed it.

I want, so badly, for her to see Christ shining in me. I want her to see a joyful countenance. A patient mother. The fruits of the Spirit. Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Gentleness. Self-control. This is more important to me than ever before. It seems we're starting from "scratch", what it is God wants from us. And I'll be the first to say it's not been a piece of cake! It's hard to "un-learn" years of thinking that it was our behavior or dress that made us acceptable to God. Realizing for the first time that God doesn't "need" anything FROM us. He has everything he needs, and while he could just take whatever he wants, he just wants us to allow him to use us. To LET him shine. Not to "shine FOR Him". Not to "do the right thing". Not to "dress like a Christian" (whatever that means). The fruits of the Spirit, like I mentioned above, are no more the garments we wear than the houses we live in, or the food we eat. These are earthly things. God gave us life, that we may live it to the fullest! Drew and I were reading Romans 7 last night, and I highly recommend it. It makes it very clear that the purpose of the Law was already fulfilled, and then it was done away with, because the presence of it was causing people to desire to do evil. Living in freedom, we find it *more* fulfilling to live a life pleasing to the Lord, because He can do this in us, without our help, if we are not so focused on doing exactly the right things! We can LET him work in us if we aren't so intent on making sure we "live by the rules". Our faith gives us the power to say "yes" or "NO" to certain behaviors of which God wouldn't approve! Other "rules" and opinions of man just get in the way of our faith being built! I can say this is true of my life, from experience. I hadn't experienced growth in a very, very long time. This complacency resulted from "knowing I was doing everything ok". Well, God didn't agree. He wanted me to keep growing. And that growth was stunted...I was doing what I "had to do" to be acceptable. Not to God, mind you, but to man. He's giving us a chance to learn why He wanted us to get rid of the law, long ago. And the freedom I am beginning to experience. It is incredible. Really incredible. Personally, I have spent WAY too much time criticizing others' apparel. I want to apologize to any of those people who I'm sure knew I was doing that mentally. I truly thought your garb was a meter by which we could gauge someone's Spiritual growth! Really! As if the Fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5 were incomplete: "Love, joy, peace, patience..............dresses, high necklines, sleeves, pleats, denim skirts....gentleness and self-control!"

I say that now in jest, but realizing that I was "adding to the scripture" by making our specific garments either right or wrong...for me, I believe it's more sinful to label a specific garment right or wrong (putting words in God's mouth)! John 13:35-"By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." He didn't say "they will know you by your dresses". He said by your LOVE. Putting my opinions on someone's dress before our fellowship? That is absolutely SIN. No doubt in my mind.

I have had the blessing of enjoying fellowship with a few friends who happen to not "dress the code". Yes, I saw their light shining. Yes, I noticed the joy in their hearts! And I found out they were my sisters in Christ. I recognized it, not because they were wearing a dress, but because God's love knows how to shine without our help. I can put on a dress and go to the store and STILL hide my light under a bushel, if I'm withholding love. So what if I'm wearing a skirt? Even those who are unsaved can wear skirts. What they CAN'T do is show God's love to the world.

Again, I want to confess publicly that I have given WAY too much opinion out on the issue of clothing. I have been self-righteous (which also puts the light wayyyy under a bushel...hypocrisy and self-righteousness can hide Christ's light in a hurry!), thinking I was more Godly than the next girl who was wearing a different type of garment to cover her body! Really. I did that. And I am so ashamed and sorry to everyone who I did that to. Let me learn, let me grow. We all are. I'm as imperfect as they come, yet Christ still loves me and I am so amazed by that. And for the record, I know how all this will come across for some. I know because I've been on the other side of that same exact hurdle. "She's making excuses so she can wear what she wants." It is a big hurdle to get over, to wipe clean the slate and realize that we allowed ourselves to be tricked into thinking our garb was our method of "shining", or "preventing a stumble". Yes, out of love I can consider this, if a brother should say he is weak, I should not contribute...be a stumbling block. But even within this "code", if a brother has lust in his heart, the garment a woman wears is irrelevant. I cannot control his mind. It's hard to admit I was wrong, that I was pridefully thinking I KNEW what God's opinion was. And along with that, I thought others didn't, or just "wasn't there yet" or "needs to grow in the Lord".

Just a few thoughts on my mind lately. Being a Christian isn't something we "do". It's already been DONE. We all know that. Allowing God to use us, and to shine in us for the world? That is not something we consciously have to make ourselves do! I'm finding that by "drawing close to Him", he does his work without my "help". Trying to "do what's right", "be a good testimony","serve God" I know I can't do those things on my own, and I also know they are just by-products of giving it ALL to Christ. It's amazing what He does when we get out of his way.

I really, really hope this comes across the way I intended; comment away and share your thoughts, so I know exactly how it DID come across!

23 July 2013

and the weeks fly by...

So, as I keep saying, I intend to use my camera more in the future...but I always, always have my phone! And so the memories seem to always end up there. I uploaded a few of the memories over the last few weeks, onto this post at the library while I was there for storytime one day. It's not easy to decide what to post when you're mobile...that's my opinion anyway.

But the little moments are what this blog is about, whether the photos of those moments are perfectly crystal clear, or not, or edited with LightRoom or not. These are a few of the "rough" photos straight off my phone. A few of them are Instagram photos as well.

She thought the collapsable colander made a nice seat. Then it broke because she was too heavy. Oops.

These goobers make me smile. 

passed out in the Boba--his favorite place

took a stroller walk to 7-eleven on 7/11 for free slurpees!
The 12th was Chick-fil-a's "cow appreciation day", and although  I put the ears on top of our heads like rabbits, as opposed to the sides, they still gave us free lunch! ;)It was not intentional; I just forgot momentarily what a cow looks like. hehe.
...and dressed up as cows for "Cow Appreciation Day" on the 12th! We got free  "chikin"

ready for an afternoon splash :)

she loves "stirring"...and making large messes for me to clean up. ;) I don't mind; she learns so much from these messes.

He's as smiley as they come. Especially when he just wakes up. Or when he's naked.

Thayer gets a lot of "Boba time", so Arden gets jealous. Sometimes when he's sleeping, I let her "ride in the Boba!" and she gets way too thrilled. I love her.
One of our many adventures at Nana's. This is right after Nana came back from California--we missed her!

watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Very entertaining.

my *extremely* handsome guys <3

Loves to give baby "nummies"

This is one adventure I'd like to try not to repeat. Long story short, she was "going potty" in the basement. Well, at first...then she moved on to bigger and better things like trying to empty the toilet of its water, all over the floor, using an OxyClean scoop as the vessel of choice. I truly hope it wasn't also used to drink the toilet water.

rides with Uncle Garret's strong muscles ;)

As I was getting out some of our baby stuff to sell, I came across this dress. Arden wore it to ProArbor's Christmas party, which was when she was ^^^this age. He would never fit in it!


day at Alum Springs Park with friends!

poor sleepy, hot, man. :( It was REALLY, REALLY hot that day.

such a beauty. And her messy face? Credits go to Mrs Janelle for sharing her nice cold pop-ices with us!

Arden has probably never seen a baby fed from a bottle, and still she decides to "give Thayer a drink of milk"
The makings of one of the best desserts of all time...I made it for the "shindig" at Michael and Theresa's

this thing had about 16 shots in it! O_o

Saturday Morning (the 20th), Thayer woke very early and I went and took a bath with him to get him to go back to sleep. :) it worked! Of course it's the days you want to sleep in and your husband is home that they wake early...

Making the lovely "Apple Pie By Grandma Ople" at Theresa's house on Saturday. I could stand to have one of these around right now.

joy. and a sweet grandson
little girls playing outside-Nana with Chris, Abigail, Kendra and Arden

wiping out some great desserts
Sunday morning Drew's dad came over and helped us on our deck!
"Whoa, it's LOUD!"
the guys working on the deck rail--Sunday afternoon. Us girls (and Trev) went swimming :)

That evening we went to a musical drama called "Bow The Knee" by the Maranatha Touring Choir. We enjoyed it so much. It was so amazing to be among others of God's children, knowing by the smiles on their faces and the joy in their attitudes that they are family. It is a blessing to look around a room, knowing you are surrounded by so many happy people who are allowing Christ to shine through them, and listen to moving music that reminds us what He did for us. I haven't been so encouraged in a long time.

Thayer using his heart-capturing powers on Gramma

"ya think?" LOL I love this little man. 

One of those *rare* times when you notice it's WAY too quiet, so you peek in......to find them doing this. But it's too late,  you've been spied and your break is over. ;)

08 July 2013

Thayer August is 3 months old!!!

Thayer August is 3 months old!!!

This boy is as sweet as they come. He sleeps well, just like a normal baby, waking every 3 hours or so to nurse, and frequently soaks through his diaper at night because he eats so often during the night and the nighttime solution I had for Arden when she did that is too fat for his little body right now…too much between the legs to be comfortable.  At this age with Arden I think I used disposables at night. So yeah, my sheets get washed often. J He really is sweet though. This very minute he is lying on the quilt Gramma made him on the living room floor, cooing and laughing up a storm while his sister kindly tells him “go nigh-night, go nigh-night. Spit up, Thayer! Yucky!” And naming all the objects on the blocks which are scattered over the living room floor for him. It makes my heart happy that my girl is so sweet to him, and he loves her just the same. He inches around if he’s on his belly…he usually sleeps on our bed but towards my side, and twice he’s inched off into his co-sleeper, a few times I caught him while his head was about to dive off into it, and once, while he was watching Daddy play the guitar, he dove off and landed on the floor on his back. He is remarkably mobile for 3 months. Just like his sister. I was thinking the extra rolls might slow him down and we’ll see in the future just how much slower, but for now he seems to be just as strong and wiggly!
just before diving off the bed

Thayer’s 3 month stats: (percentiles calculated using About.com Pediatrics calculator)

Weight:16.4 lbs—89th percentile
Height: 25.5 inches—84th percentile
Head circumference: 16.5—54th percentile

I was actually able to shoot some photos of him ON his 3 month birthday! I’m getting better at this 2 kid business! Proud of me.

07 July 2013

holiday weekend

We got ANOTHER great weekend! Three days this time! Drew worked on the 4th, so he could have three days in a row instead of going back on Friday. Thursday he did get off earlier than usual though, and we had dinner with Mom and Dad that night.

So on the 4th, I met him at Mom and Dad’s and we had dinner with them, and some good times involving spiders and such, before we went to watch the fireworks they set off at Pratt Park. We took some homemade ice cream to enjoy while we watched…it was great. Thayer LOVED the fireworks; Arden was just a little bit disturbed by the explosions; they scared her L

nectarine coconut milk ice cream

Friday, Drew had hoped to work on the deck but I needed to go to the store so he sweetly came along to help me. It’s not all that fun to go shopping yourself when its hot and you have two babies. I was so thankful for his help! We stayed home rather than go to sing that evening, for one because we kept forgetting it was a sing night and for another because we needed time as a family. We also put the littles to bed a bit early because we were planning to get up a bit earlier than usual on Saturday!

Friday morning...he loves his thumb these days

he's the best Daddy, hands down.

Saturday morning…I love this. I hardly ever go in to wake up a sleeping baby, but when I do, I have to take a photo. She is so sweet.

We drove down to the Metro Richmond Zoo and got there not long after they opened; we got a nice close spot to the entrance, and I just assumed it wasn’t a popular place, and the lot just doesn’t fill up. We bought some food for the giraffes, because that was something I really wanted to do with Arden. She adores giraffes.

The zoo wasn’t huge, but it had SO many types of monkeys, giraffes you could feed, and everything was close enough so that you could show a toddler without her having to look too hard and find what you’re trying to point out! I thought for kids (babies, that is) it was much better than the National Zoo just because you can get through the whole thing without it taking several hours, and there’s not a whole ton of walking involved between each species. Arden absolutely loved it. I think the zoo might just be her favorite place on the planet.

We hit a bit of traffic on 95 so we got off, on the way home, and just took back roads in order to keep the babies sleeping. It probably took a bit longer, but it was better for us than to have stop-start traffic in which babies do not continue to sleep.

We didn’t have enough time to go home to change clothes, so we probably were a little sweaty and sticky at Elliot’s going-away party. He texted Drew on Friday and asked if we would come, so he could see us again before he left. I thought it was sweet. And of course Arden is ALWAYS game to see Uncle Garret, and Eva. So we enjoyed some amazing food, as we do every time we go there…Jenny is a great entertainer. There were a few other people there that I didn’t know, but it was a great time and it was neat to try to start Elliot off with some encouragement before he starts on his journey into the Navy. It was also great to see William again! He’s getting married this next weekend so we got to congratulate him in advance. 

Sunday was potluck and I was thankful I had frozen some stuffed shells a while back, so I hadn’t had to do anything really, to prepare for it on the weekend! After lunch we came home and the babies had naps while I got some dinner together to take over to Adam and Janelle’s. Drew wanted to go for a while and help them on their house. We took the little kiddie pool and the little girls played in it while the guys worked, and Janelle and I made some dinner and ice cream. We enjoyed our time and we are thankful for our friends! It’s a blessing to help them out, for the first time…we’ve been wanting to for a bit but recently going from a family of 3 to a family of 4 slows us down a little. J

I am so thankful that we had such a wonderful weekend with other Christians and I was encouraged by our time with each one! I loved spending Friday and the first part of Saturday with my wonderful man and our precious littles…it is so rare. I love our life and kids!!! And as always I enjoyed hanging out with April…it is a blessing to have a friend who has such a similar mindset on so many things. We share the happiness of being moms, and of such dynamic girls, and happy, healthy babies…and sometimes we share frustrations with the “normal” ways… 

Oh hi, April. J My awesome non-vaccinating, intactivist, lactivist, erfing, babywearing, birth-choice activist, GMO-avoiding, organic-buying, happy healthy mama friend! J Love you! I’m so thankful for our friendship! xD

It was an amazing weekend, if I didn't say it already. I love spending time with my family!!!