Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Meeting Ava

Steven's parents and grandparents drove 9 hours from Michigan to come meet our little Ava. We had a wonderful weekend celebrating birthdays, eating delicious barbecue, and enjoying Old Town Alexandria. I was so busy with the baby and enjoying my company that I now realize I hardly took any photos. Oh, shame!! (as my friend Emma would say)

Here's the couple I did snag...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Why Blog?

Who am I blogging for? It's a question I've been pondering.

I was talking to girlfriend and mentioned that I would be putting some more photos up on the blog. She called me a name. A name I hate. "Super-Mom." There's nothing "super" about my mothering. At this point, I think "Survival-Mom" would be a much better name. If you think (as I've been accused), I do a lot it's because I'm antsy not super. I genuinely hate naps, and I have a hard time sitting still in my own home. That is, with the exception of watching Colin Firth play Mr. Darcy, for which I can happily park my rear end on a couch for 6 hours. I have a much harder time than most doing what Scripture commands: "Be still and know that I am God." Not good, but God is using my four children to teach me this truth.

Blogging definitely does not make me "super". At this time in my life, it just happens to be somewhere on my priority list which takes me back to my original question: who am I blogging for?

I'm not even positive who the all people are who actually read this blog. I know there are the aunts and uncles, the grandparents, even a friend or two. I'm glad they get to catch up on my lovely children. But really, I'm writing this blog for 6 people: my husband, myself, and most of all- my children. One day, I want my kids to be able to look back and laugh at the funny quotes, enjoy the pictures, and recall the memories that may have faded in their minds. I know I already do this with older posts.

Ava is my first baby that doesn't have a real baby book; these recent posts are her baby book. I know from experience that the early months whisk by, and I want to remember them in ways that my sleep-deprived brain never could. And that's why I write posts typing with one finger while nursing or steal a few minutes to blog while the kids are playing.

So to anyone stopping by, thanks for reading. And to Isaiah, Elijah, Adriana, and Ava, this your momma speaking from what will be the past by the time you read it. I want you to know that there's nothing in the world I'd rather be doing, than being your momma.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

One Month!

Guess who's one month old today and working hard to keep up with her brothers' and sister's early chubbiness standards!






Wednesday, June 23, 2010

All Four

Ava's almost a month; and as of a few days ago, I still hadn't gotten any photos of all four (I wrote "three" just now and had to backspace when reality hit) kids by themselves.

To be honest, I was procrastinating. I photograph families all the time, and yet I dread photographing all of my children at once. Mixing mothering and photography in the same space of time can be lethal.

We ended up with only two good photos, but I guess that's all you need. I'm resolved to try to do this more often...maybe.



We kept it up until the smiles got too cheesy and the baby started screaming. At that point, we flagged down the ice cream truck and called it a day.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hail the Conquering Graduate!

In my family there are seven (yes, seven) children; and #5's high school graduation took place when Ava was just 12 days old. The poor guy definitely had to share the spotlight as people swooned over his tiny niece.

Life is crazy right now; so that's all the writing you get on this post. I'm throwing some photos from that day up here and running downstairs to do laundry and make a grocery list and clean my disaster of a room and get the kids a snack and run a comb through my hair get the point.

Uncle Tyler with all the nieces and nephews:

Uncle Josiah and Aunt Stephanie:

Aunt Katie and Aunt Hannah:


The Wanna-be:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

You Da' Bomb, Babes!

Since Father's Day and our anniversary both happen this week, this is a shout out to my leading man!
If being a great dad and hubby wasn't already enough, my husband was officially applying for sainthood during this past year. He did more than his fair share as I struggled through nine months of sickness. No doubt his hands have never seen more dishwater. He often walked in the house after a full day's work and sent me to bed so that he could continue serving our family. Or he would drop everything to make an emergency run to Panera to buy me the only thing that seemed edible for a time. (We should have bought stock in Panera Bread before my pregnancy!) And he lead my heart when it strayed into self-pity or unbelief. And to top it off, he did all of it cheerfully. I think I've realized more than ever that my husband is not out for the praise of man. He cared for me quietly, often with no one but the children around to notice. It reminds me of 1 Corinthians 10:31, "So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. "

Babes, I had lofty dreams of what my husband would be like, but walking this road with you has been a joy that surpasses all those dreams. You truly are my "Mr. Wonderful."

Happy Father's Day...

...and Happy Anniversary!!
For the curious, a couple of our wedding pics can be seen on last year's post.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

3 Weeks

Ava Louise was 3 weeks old on Monday. She had an appointment with the pediatrician that day; and we found out that she now weighs 8 lbs. 4 oz.- 2 pounds since birth! The doctor told me that she is in the 24th percentile for weight which is something a doctor has never told me. Ever. If you have any history with my family, you know that my babies are fatties. I'm usually told my babies are in the 80th or 90th percentile. Elijah was even off the charts at one point. My husband has suggested, in the past, that I send my milk to third world countries. Who knows; Ava may play catch up in the days to come.

After 3 weeks with her, I'm learning more of my precious one's likes and dislikes.

She enjoys:

-having her siblings talk to her
-the way Isaiah holds her
-frequent feedings
-the fishies that make there home above her swing
-and her tiny red shoes

Alright, alright. Mommy likes her tiny red shoes; and everything else that fits her in her closet.

She is turned off by:

-diaper changings
-being held for more than two minutes by Elijah or Adriana
-having to wait to nurse

And above all she hates being bathed. No amount of warm bath water or calming voices can change that fact that she acts downright insulted to be bathed. We'll have to work on that.

Here are some photos of my 3 week beauty:




Thursday, June 10, 2010

My First Baby Turns 8

My baby is eight, and I am blessed.
He told me he wanted his cake to look like an eight covered in candy. I told him he was the best for picking an easy cake for this sleep-deprived mommy.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

See! I told you I was only blogging a lot before because the three kids were gone. Now that they are home and I am on my own with them, we're experiencing a varying mix of chaos and fun. Throw in some coffee and a heavy dose of God's grace, and we're hanging in there. All of the older kids are doing wonderfully with Ava. She's quite the superstar around here. Every thing from baths to diaper changings gathers a full crowd.

At the end of my pregnancy, when I contemplated who my helping hands would be, I knew my husband and mom would both play a big role in assisting me as I juggled the newborn stage. But I've had some serious hands-on help from a wholly unexpected source. My dear, eight year old, Isaiah has been more helpful than I'd ever anticipated. He's actually wanted to be of assistance with the baby and certainly has. He's already proving himself as a reliable bottle feeder, baby burper, and someone who can successfully calm a crying baby. As I ran upstairs the other day to get the new mother's holy grail: a shower, I pondered in amazement that I could trust my first baby to keep an eye on my new baby.

On the other hand, while my dear daughter, Adriana, is enamored with her new sister; she's no longer enamored with the idea of obedience. Any training seems to have gone out the window. Here's a taste for you... (If you want a full helping, just come pick her up for a babysitting session.) On Monday, Steven took the boys to a minor league baseball game. The girls and I had a great time together, and we even painted all three sets of toenails. After that, a girlfriend of mine was planning on coming over to meet Ava and hang out for a bit after Adriana went to bed. This "seemed" like a totally feasible plan. We read books and her Bible story, said prayers, and brushed teeth. Adriana sweetly asked if she could just say "hi" to my friend before going to bed. No problem. Ummm...wrong! After I took her to bed, the stalling started.

"I can't go to bed because the sheets will rub off my nail polish."

"I'm not tired."

"I just want to sit and watch you talk."

"Um, I tried to sleep; but I just can't."

"I need to poop."

This is the most reliable stall because no mom is going to risk you soiling your pants. Minutes later I came to wipe her. Nothing was in the toilet. Not a drop.

Finally, she pulled out the stops; and as I sat, nursing the baby and attempting to have a conversation, she escalated to full yelling from her room.


At this point, my poor friend has had our conversation interrupted 38 times and is kindly smiling and telling me that she understands. I smile "sweetly" back.

"I'm so sorry, but if you'll just excuse me."

I return, thinking I've taken care of it, and resume feeding Ava when blood-curdling screams erupted from the back bedroom.


Suffice it to say, my friend graciously saw the wisdom in leaving early to let me attend to my daughter. God has wonderful ways of keeping this mother humble!

To leave you with a cuter Adriana story, Steven was laying on the bed exhausted. Adriana asked him to come do something. He half-jokingly told her, "I'm just too tired. I can't get up!" She responded, "Come on, Daddy! You need to do hard things!!"

Finally, what's a post without pictures? Here some of Daddy and Ava who is now over 2 weeks old and has put on a whole pound of weight!