Friday, June 29, 2012

An update on all things baby

It's official!  I'm having a baby!  Just knew that already.  But, the date is drawing closer (July 25 is my due date) and I hope that by the end of the month we will have met our new little one.  Here's some baby news to share as we look forward to that exciting time...

I'm generally feeling fine, but have had lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions, often when I'm on my feet.  The weather has been HOT (92 degrees at 9:15 tonight when we were on our way home) and so I am trying to stay cool and hydrated.  Baby girl seems to be head down (has been for weeks) but sometimes spins from side to side.  For the longest time she was lying with her spine along my right side, hiccups on the lower right, kicks and jabs on my left.  But just a few days ago she shifted and is now seemingly on the left side and kicking on my right.  So amazing!

We watched a National Geographic video the other night called "In the Womb" and it was simply astounding.  It just makes me marvel at the Lord and His creative power to see all of the processes that have to happen just perfectly in order for a new person to come about.  It was worship inspiring!

I feel "almost" ready for the baby to come...though I actually have quite the list of things I'd still like to accomplish before she gets here, I know that probably all of them won't happen.  We've been trying to get lots of exercise, especially walking, but in the heat the last few days it hasn't been possible.  Maybe after the weekend it will cool down slightly.  The high tomorrow is supposed to be 106!

Christin asks every day, "Does the baby feel SO heavy, Mama?" and loves to put her ear to my belly to see if she can hear anything.  The girls are fascinated by the movement they can see and feel--it makes everything seem more real!  I am thankful that they have only shown excitement about the new one's arrival.

The doctor says all looks good--we haven't had any "guesstimates" as to her size but I hadn't gained any weight in the last two weeks (though baby seems bigger) so that was encouraging to me.  I hope to not have another almost 10 pounder!  I am so glad to still be sleeping in my own bed and not having to pack up our family; that is a big relief.  The comforts of home are truly comforting when you aren't feeling 100%!  I'm thankful especially for a comfy bed to help get as much rest as possible and A/C to keep things cool!  Though, I'm not above resorting to an ice pack on my feet to keep that swelling down!

So, a few more weeks and we'll be meeting our new little girl!  Her clothes are all ready, my bag for the hospital is partially packed, and her little room is ready and waiting.  I am determined not to get stressed if she doesn't come on time, so we'll just wait and take things a day at a time!  In the meantime, I'll keep on slowly working on my list of things to do and the girls and I are doing some school here and there as well, plus trips to the pool whenever it fits in.  I think the next month will go quickly!

Trusting the Lord for the perfect timing and safe arrival of our new little girl!

Friday, June 22, 2012

We loved Camp!

It was so refreshing to be out at the Cedarmore camp last week for our Mission Adventure Camp!  John had just finished his last class for the first year of his PhD studies, and then we packed up and were ready for a week away!  The weather was absolutely beautiful and we enjoyed our time with the kids, counselors, and parents.  Here's a glimpse of what our week involved:  Above, Clara Anne is fascinated with the landscaping rocks at this climbing wall where we sat one evening to read our current family read-aloud: North!  Or be Eaten by Andrew Peterson.
The other girls sitting with Daddy as he reads and adds in all the fun dramatic voices...
Look at that beautiful sky!  I still appreciate it so much after so many years of smog overseas!
There's my sweet four year old...
One evening the activity was bazooka ball, where you have a gun and get to form teams and shoot each other with soft green balls.  Clara Anne and John had lots of fun!
Chloe, Christin and I watched from the sidelines.
Pretty rough and tough, don't you think?
Every afternoon we enjoyed "canteen" where the girls could have a fun was fun to introduce them to "Push-Ups," a favorite snack I enjoyed as a kid.  This is in the dining hall.
We went from canteen to the swimming pool!  The afternoons were warm, sunny, and miraculously, not humid!  We had a great time swimming in the outdoor pool  (spiders and waterbugs notwithstanding).

Towards the middle of the week, the girls started to make some friends, even though the girls at camp were older than them.  The sad day came when they wanted to sit with their friends at meals instead of with Mommy and Daddy!
Having fun...
Finding flowers in the Kentucky woods...nobody minds if you pick all the clover you see!
This night there was a relay race that Clara Anne joined in on...spinning around a bat, tossing a frisbee, running with a water balloon balanced on a spoon...all important skills for life, you know!  She loved joining in with the bigger girls.

Camp wouldn't be camp without a camp fire!  How fun to roast marshmallows and make s'mores!

Perfectly golden brown...

And then suddenly we were at the last day.  Worship time...
Signing autographs...
And some final dancing and saying goodbyes.
It really was a wonderful week.  For our family, the timing couldn't have been better.  It was so refreshing, encouraging, and relaxing to be together and out in God's creation after a very busy year of studies.  We loved sharing with the kids about work overseas and had a great time just being there.  I will confess it was really nice not to have to cook for a week!  The beautiful weather was a special blessing, and we all got a few naps in during free time as well.  We pray that the Lord truly used this time for His glory, to encourage and inspire the next generation about doing His work wherever they are!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

34 weeks and counting!

 We just returned from a week at camp in the Kentucky woods!  It was a wonderful week, full of worship, activity and time outdoors, with some naps thrown in for good measure.  We all truly enjoyed it but the girls especially had a wonderful time.  I uploaded all our photos tonight and will post them soon, but in the meantime here are two VERY current ones--just taken last night!  Me in all my baby glory at 34 weeks and two sweet sisters, ready to welcome her!  Clara Anne is actually in this picture too, standing just behind my right shoulder in dark purple leggings and a purple shirt.  She was waiting to join in on a fun relay race with the other campers.
Baby girl Wind at 34-plus weeks!  She'll be here soon!  I am really going to enjoy NOT having to pack up my whole family and travel internationally for this birth like I did a few times before!  It is such a blessing to be able to stay home all the way until the baby is actually born!  So thankful for that.  Baby girl is measuring right on track and has been head down now already for a number of weeks.  Hopefully she'll stay that way.  Now that the semester and this camp are over, our next major event is to welcome this sweet little one!  We're all getting excited!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Adventures in Gardening

This spring we decided to convert our back patio (the walkout from our basement level which is enclosed by a wooden fence) into a "Secret Garden."  The girls love the story of the Secret Garden and this one is truly secret since it is not visible from the street but only from inside the house.  It is right off our home schooling area and though it is a very small space, probably 3 feet by 5 feet, we thought a few pots of herbs and some hanging pots of flowers would fit into the space nicely.

To get inspired and ready for our gardening, we made a trip to a big home improvement store, and were just amazed at the garden section!  So many choices!  So many beautiful flowers and thriving plants!  Wow, you could really spend a lot of money on landscaping!  Thankfully we didn't need too many things, since our space is so small.  But we still walked away with five hanging baskets and five potted plants!

The first task was to clean out some of the "junk" that was there and make the space ready.  We did some organizing in our storage space in the basement so that John's bike and the grill, which were both previously stored outside in that space, could fit inside instead.  We pulled some weeds (there is a cement slab in the middle but dirt around the perimeter) and then laid down some pretty white rock over the dirt, to prevent more weeds.  Next John drove several shepherd's hooks into the ground and we were able to also hang an iron bar from the fence to hang a bird feeder on.  We thought it would be wonderful to be able to attract some birds to our little secret garden.

Finally all was ready and we started to place the flowers.  Two baskets of purple wave petunias, two of varicolored impatiens, and a strawberry plant quickly took their places hanging from shepherd's hooks.  The pots of mint, parsley/oregano, basil, rosemary, and a tomato plant were then added.  The sights and smells were a true transformation of that little space!  I haven't taken any pictures yet, but I'll have to do that soon!

Everything bloomed well for awhile but now some of the plants haven't been blooming as profusely; I think I need to do a little fertilizing.  Any suggestions on this?

I also have to report the demise of the bird feeder.  Initially we had bought a pretty cheap bird feeder, intending just to try it out and see if we could get some birds to come and eat.  But you know who came instead?  Yes, big, fat, greedy squirrels.  One morning John went downstairs rather early and found a fat, happy squirrel perched on what was left of the feeder--the squirrel had managed to break the feeder apart, spill the majority of the seed, and then was eating up the evidence.  John shooed him away and we cleaned up the mess, determining that we needed a different, squirrel-proof feeder.

I found a new one that was supposedly squirrel proof not long after, and was eager to try it.  For about a week we gawked in delight as the birds came, shyly at first and then more confidently, to have a little snack just a few feet from our window.  Unfortunately, they also made a mess--spilled seed, cracked some seeds and spit out the hulls, and pooped on the other flowers out there.  We were mostly attracting sparrows, and then we noticed that the sparrows started to get greedy too--6-8 of them would come at once and fight each other for the spots to feed.  The spilled seed was really making a mess in that small space, and I was having to sweep up every day from the silly birds!  The final straw was when we refilled the feeder and within two days, it was mostly gone or spilled from the feeder, and still not a different bird in sight except for the sparrows.  So, we made the tough decision to remove the bird feeder and let the birds go back to fending for themselves.  It was just too small of a space to have birds occupying it too.  So, farewell sparrows!  It was fun while it lasted!

Our secret garden (complete with a lock on the inside of the wood fence) has already brought great delight to us all, and I've especially enjoyed picking fresh basil, rosemary and mint to use in recipes.  And, now we all have a bit more motivation to spend time in the home school room, with such a lovely view in front of us!  Clara Anne has even gone out there on occasion for her reading time.  I'm thankful for our quiet little garden spot, and hope that I'll be able to keep everything thriving and healthy.  The girls love their watering responsibilities and take it very seriously to care for the plants.  Next time I'll show some pictures of the Secret Garden!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Packing, Moving, Changing

No, not us.

You might think that since I've been absent from my blog for so long, we must have a good excuse, right?  Like...moving?  No, no good excuse...just the busyness of normal life, keeping up with my girls, helping my husband, and keeping on with home schooling, house work, ministry opportunities, etc.  But, there has been plenty of change going on in other parts of our family!

For one  (a BIG one), my mom and dad are moving!  They had an offer on their house out of the blue this spring, but weren't sure what would happen with Dad's health.  I am so thankful to say that Dad is doing better--much better!  He has been on this dopamine-based drug since late March now and though it didn't have the immediate effect they wanted, he does seem to be getting better week by week.  By that I mean he is more responsive, he is getting up out of bed and keeping a more normal schedule, he seems more interested in life and the things that are going on around him, he occasionally initiates conversation with my mom or asks a question, and generally is just more involved and engaged.  Praise the Lord!  We are so thankful to see some glimmers of his personality come out again.  I was on the phone with him for a few minutes the other night and he sounded almost totally normal to me.  So very thankful to see this progress!

When it looked like my dad was doing better, my mom started to consider seriously the idea of moving.  Then, two hailstorms in a single weekend convinced my mom that she was ready to be done caring for the lawn and yard work, and that moving to a smaller, simpler, maintenance-free place was a great idea.  And, within a few days of selling their house they were able to buy a condo that met all of those conditions!  It is only a few blocks away from their current home and will be an "easy" move in that sense.  But, the work of packing and moving is always somewhat stressful, especially when downsizing, so we are praying extra hard for Mom and Dad these days!

As well, my brother Mark and his family, who had spent the last year here in Louisville, have now moved back to Minnesota.  (In fact, hopefully they've arrived by now...they were driving today!).  They made this decision over the past few months after Mark felt that being a full-time student was not for him.  They are seeking the Lord for the next step for their lives, and trusting His good plans.  We will miss them dearly!  It's been such a joy to see all five girls (their two girls are placed just older and just younger than Clara Anne) interact and have so much fun together.  And it's been such a blessing for us to have family in town, after being overseas for so long.  So, we are thankful for the season that we had and praying God's rich blessings on them as they transition in the next weeks and months.

As for us, we're not going anywhere until this baby is born!  :)  Actually, that's not entirely true--we will be speaking at a camp for girls during the second week of June, right outside Louisville.  But otherwise, we will be here for the summer.  John is feverishly trying to finish up the work due for his modular classes which will begin next Monday.  He has had an amazingly busy semester, but has done very well and has felt that his classes have been very valuable.  His big news is that he is officially a new adjunct professor for Liberty University!  They have an extensive online program and so he will be able to teach from home, which is just wonderful--using his gifts and experience, all from the convenience of his home office!  The only wild card is that they cannot predict exactly what they will need him to teach.  We are hoping for two classes in the fall to  help our finances!

I am feeling well with baby getting bigger and bigger.  She is quite active and makes me laugh sometimes with her dance moves, hiccups, and jabs here and there.  She's been head down now for a number of weeks and hopefully will stay that way!  I have about 8 weeks to go--due date is July 25.  I've been seeing a chiropractor to help keep my spine healthy and prepare my body for labor; that's been very helpful.  We're getting excited to meet our little girl!  The walk-in closet that will be her bedroom is all ready for her (except for diapers) and until that little bassinet is occupied, I'm enjoying sleeping through the night.  :)

Well, lots more I could say but I'll finish just by saying, "Thanks for reading!"  I hope to be posting more soon!