Thursday, December 31, 2009


So as of today she is 3 weeks old. I am finally getting around to "announcing" her on my blog. I also want to tell a little of her birth story so when the day comes 20 years from now when i get around to scrapbooking her I will have something to look back on.

But here she is our 4th beautiful daughter.

9lb 7oz, 23" -our biggest baby by far!

her fingers are sooo long! and her nails already need to be clipped ;)

She's perfect and fits right into our family.

We are so incredibly thankful to God for blessing us with her and giving us the job of being her mommy and daddy.

the birth story.... WARNING: VERY LONG!
so on monday the 7th of december i had a doctors appointment... still dilated to a 2 and 50% effaced. after much discussion we decided that we would come back on thursday the 10th to be induced. feelings of relief and frustration consumed me for the next couple days. relief that there was an end in sight and we could plan to have child care arranged for our kids but frustration that once again my body had "failed" and wouldn't go into labor on it's own. the night before we were set to go in i went into a self-pity party and whined about how it seems that i kept reading these great birth stories of women who have some slight contractions in the evening, go to bed, water breaks in the night, they take their time getting to the hospital and are dilated to a 4 or 5 when they get there, get their epidural and labor in ease for a few hours and finally push out a beautiful healthy baby sometime in the afternoon. "why can't i experience that?" i clearly remember saying to chad. he assures me that no matter the "how" having a healthy baby, safely delivered, is the main point. which i know. but still...
we go to bed wednesday night and set the alarm for 6:50ish am. i had been having "stronger braxton hicks contractions" off and on for several days. i woke up at 3am (as typical for the last week or so) and my mind was consumed with thoughts of the upcoming day. the "what if's" playing through my head made it impossible to fall back asleep. i watch the clock count down to the time the alarm would go off. when it does, chad and i talk for a minute and then i decide i need to get into the shower so we can be ready on time. as i roll out of bed i feel a gush....
me: "huh? what is that?"
chad: "nooo way."
me: laughing... "i think so."
i get to the bathroom and i'm pretty sure it had to have been my water breaking. i shower and occasionally feel some contractions but not painful ones. we get ready as planned and take our oldest daughter to school and then head to the hospital. we check in as scheduled and as the nurse is showing us back to our room i tell her that i think my water broke. i get all settled in and shortly after 9am my doctor arrives to check me. i am at a 4 and 75% effaced :) i'm not really feeling contractions too much but some light ones are showing up on the monitor.
we decide that i should walk around for awhile and bounce on the birthing ball as well to see if contractions pick up. an hour later she checks again and i am between a 4 and a 5 and we continue with the plan of walking the halls and bouncing on the ball. chad is a trooper as we trek the whole 2 hallways of our small hospital about 50 bazillion times! i feel contractions get a bit stronger but nothing that makes me stop in my tracks to breathe through them. fast forward to around 1pm. i am checked again and am between a 6 and 7 and 100% effaced. i decide that the past few contractions have been stronger and i should get an epidural since it takes awhile for the anesthesiologist to get there. i get into the whirlpool tub to labor in there until my epi arrives. 2:10ish pm my epi gets here and i am feeling some harder contractions but again nothing that i can't get through pretty easily. at 3pm the epidural is administered but only taking on one side of my body (that is a really weird feeling to have contractions on only one side of your body!) i get checked again so they can decide if they need to redo the whole epidural or just give me something different if i am far enough progressed. i am at a 9 already and she said there is a bulging water sack as well which she breaks. the epidural finally takes on my other side and i don't feel anything. 45 minutes later my doctor checks again and there is just a tiny lip of cervix left and baby is at zero station. thinking i would be pushing very soon everyone stands around the room chatting and waiting for me to feel pressure or the urge to push. but nothing is happening. the extra nurse leaves and my doctor decides to go back to her clinic patients and i get on the ball again to try to get the baby to drop some.
at 5:20ish pm my doctor comes back and decides that since the baby isn't dropping very quickly i will need to push her down myself. we set up to push and even though i feel nothing i start pushing. after several pushes she is crowning and i am definitely feeling lots of pressure! at 5:42pm after about 20 minutes of pushing, our baby girl arrives! 9lb 7oz, 23", head measures 14". So LONG story, short. God gave me just what i wanted, a "perfect" birth story to go with our perfect 4th baby girl.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy Birthday 5 year old :)

"You know, that now you are 5 you have to eat 5 bites of potatos instead of 4."

"I'll just stay 4."

"But then you can't go to Kindergarten."

"How 'bout I'll turn 5 and go to Kindergarten and just eat 4 bites of potatos."


so ready or not, she's 5. (and despite her wonderful bargaining skills, she will end up eating 5 bites of potatos or beans or whatever else is healthy but detestable to her taste buds)

Happy Birthday! You bring so much JOY to our lives!

at the hotel...

we celebrated with her cousins who also have December birthdays at a hotel with a big swimming pool the weekend before her big day

on her actual birthday she picked Chuck E Cheese to celebrate :)

Monday, November 30, 2009

i {heart} real Christmas trees

growing up we ALWAYS had a real tree, it wasn't until we had all moved out that my mom decided to get a fake one (much to the dismay of some of her daughters)

i loved the search for the perfect tree each year at the neighboring tree farm and the fresh pine smell that filled the room when we set it up in the house. a family tradition that i would like to pass on to my kids.

so once again this year (a little earlier than our usual mid december outing since miss baby girl is due to arrive any day) we made the trek to a local tree farm to find the perfect tree.... and we found it :) i mean this one is perfection! fresh pine smell and all.

"I pick this one"
watching Daddy cut down the tree
"It's cold!"
decorating the next day!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween?

One struggle we have as parents is deciding how to handle Halloween. For most it is a harmless holiday where you run around dressed up in funny costumes and get sick on candy. However, it's not that for everyone and that is where we struggle.

Growing up, both my husband and I didn't do much for Halloween. For me it was very rare to dress up and trick or treat but it wasn't like I was told that it wasn't okay either. We've sort of gotten away with doing nothing with our kids up until these past couple years when our oldest started school. Of course at school everyone talks about what they are going to dress up as and all the dreams of huge bags of candy begin to formulate in their little heads.

A local church offers an "alternative" called the Hallelujah Party. So for the past two years we have gone there with our kids. It is a mass chaos of kids playing games for "tickets" which can then be turned in for prizes and candy (selecting prizes seems to take about as long as the games for our oldest!) So that's great and all but it still doesn't answer the questions of a 7 and 4 year old, wondering why mommy and daddy don't like Halloween very much when the rest of the world seems to love it almost as much as Christmas.... Maybe by next year we will have some good answers ;)

We decided to go to the Hallelujah Party again this year. I had told the girls that we would go to the party but probably not dress up this time as I couldn't think of anything we had on hand for my oldest to wear. But, 1/2 an hour before the start of the party an idea popped in my head and when we left we took along with us to the party: a cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins, a flower girl for a wedding - though she identified herself as a "wedding girl" (she wore a dress I wore when I was a flower girl at the age of 3) and what I would call an old fashioned lady on a Saturday night, complete with pink hair curlers.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Endless falling leaves.....

So the house we bought is in the "old well-established" part of town. This means very large trees (beautiful!) and TONS of leaves in the fall (also beautiful but lots of work!). Our driveway, sidewalks, and yard were hidden under a vast amount of colorful leaves. The rainy weather has made it difficult to get out there to rake and clean things and they just kept piling up. Last night a good friend came to our rescue with his handy dandy rather large riding mower and he and my hubby managed to get everything picked up except for where the pool used to be (and that is neatly raked into the big hole in the center!) However since the yard was being mowed rather than raked the kids made their own pile before the guys started and I managed to get a few pictures as well. The sun was already setting so the colors are rather grayish. Oh well, I'm sure there will be more leaf picture opportunities as only about half our leaves have fallen!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


So these past months my husband and I have been talking a lot and wrestling with "Sabbath" and what it means. He studied this topic for a message he gave this summer and then some more for a discussion night for youth group. Also in God's perfect timing, the book chosen last month for my book club I am in was entitled "Sabbath" We have learned it is such a wonderful gift from God to be commanded to take a day off! So rather than demanding our girls to take naps every Sunday we are making effort to do things as a family, to celebrate God's blessings, his creation and focus on our relationship with Him.

This past Sunday we had a beautiful sunny fall day and decided to take advantage of the warmer weather (finally! after having so much rain and SNOW the previous week!) The girls were initially not too thrilled when we told them that this park was different as it didn't have playground equipment. They were thrilled however that they would be excused from the previous requirement of naps on Sunday. When we got to the park however, their kid sense of adventure kicked in and they seemed to love every minute we were there and are begging to go back every day.
It was wonderful and while we continue to wrestle with how to do "Sabbath" (especially when Chad has to "work" on Sundays as part of his job) this felt right. Praise God for his gift of Sabbath.
We hiked the trails and discovered a lot of things... we found a huge rock and wondered how it got there when there are no other "rocks" around, we found a slide (yay!), we saw a lot of deer and other animal tracks, (Shannon was hoping to find Zebra tracks though), we saw a snake, a dead squirell (a bit disturbing actually), and gorgeous vistas of miles of farmland ready to be harvested.

on the big rock


the littlest explorer, lagging far behind ;)

 because she stops to point at everything :)

looking for zebras

extrememly happy to not be napping

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Birthday Girl

7 years ago, our first precious daughter arrived. changing us forever. giving us a new title and role as "mommy" and "daddy."

she first celebrated her big day with grandpa and grandma because we were in LA for a convention. she was a bit sad at first when we told her we wouldn't be there, but handled it like a trooper and we planned a special day to celebrate after we came back. so last saturday she got to invite 2 of her friends from school over for the day. lots of playing, crafts, some cupcakes and a few presents = a perfect day for our 7 year old :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First Day of Preschool!


she can't be this old already.

but she is, whether I am able to admit it or not. and she is more than ready. she took it in stride today, like it was no big deal. didn't seem nervous, just excited to be doing something other than staying home with me (sniff sniff). i am glad though that she is not clinging to my leg and screaming, not wanting to go to school. she is eager to learn and that is a blessing.

AND it leaves me with an afternoon of quiet (insert happy dance).... 2 in school and 1 napping peacefully. ahhhh, breathe in the silence.

well that is how it is supposed to be. i was quite excited to enjoy my first afternoon of peace. however, after miss preschool was dropped off, i took a few moments to stop at some garage sales since they were "right there." (I really am on a mission to find the most fabulous find for dirt cheap to furnish and decorate my house with) on the way home, my youngest fell asleep in her carseat for a MAXIMUM of 2 minutes. so when i deposited her in her crib at home she decided that 2 minutes of nap is the same as 2 hours and is now hollering for me to get her out. i don't think so little one. mommy is going to win this battle and a 2 minute nap isn't cuttin' it. not today.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

every day is dress up day

My middle child is a rather complicated creature. She is a "feel the wind in my hair going 90 miles an hour" kind of girl, not a lot of fears, loves bugs, being outside barefoot, and yet she is a girly girl through and through. She LOVES to dress up and will wear dress up clothes all day long, every day (I have to remember that when I am shopping for her, the girl just doesn't need very many clothes cause she is always wearing dress up stuff). Her laundry pile is always the smallest and usually the same few of her favorite outfits (ie: skirts and play dresses) are in it. In fact the only time she will wear something different is when we are going out somewhere and I make her.
Well after we moved and I started unpacking things I discovered a bag of little dresses my mom had kept for me that I wore when I was young for various occasions. I snapped this picture of her wearing a dress that I wore at age 3ish during my first trip to Holland to celebrate my grandparent's anniversary. My older sister had a matching one as well. We were *super* cute, I think :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

15 Years

It has been 15 years since Dad left for Heaven. Nearly half my life has been spent without him yet he remains one of my biggest influences. I feel so sad when I think of all I haven't been able to share with him. He never met my husband, wasn't there to walk me down the aisle. He has not been able to hold and snuggle with my 3, soon to be 4, baby girls. He can't give me advice on big life decisions, visit me and see my new house (or any of the homes I've lived in). I can go on and on. However, what does that accomplish but self-pity, regret, and sadness? Dad has spent the last 15 years with Jesus! How glorious and wonderful this time for him must be. I can only imagine. He left behind him a legacy of faith. His impact in my faith life is larger than anyone else's. There are so many characteristics about Dad that challenge me to live for Jesus. I am comforted in that we did not say goodbye 15 years ago but "see you later." And as my little ones run around my feet as I write this I know that a part of you lives on in me and in them. Thank you Dad for the years we did have on this earth and making the most of them. We are blessed and continue to be blessed, praise Jesus.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

kitchen before and afters

so here are a few before and afters of the kitchen. the least amount of work went into this room for now, therefore it can actually be pictured :) other rooms will come eventually. basically the only things we did to this room is paint the pukey color (okay it wasn't bad, it just wasn't in my style) we painted all the way around the upper cabinets whereas they had left it the same color as the window trim and beadboard backsplash in that area and there was an abrupt kind of awkward place where the pukey color stopped. we painted the walls Tupelo Tree from Sherwin Williams. We also put in our own island (a sweet IKEA deal!) since they took their's with. i like ours better as it is shaped better for the space and the open shelving on the bottom makes the whole room feel more open (even though i haven't figured out a use for the shelves yet as little hands will be constantly taking everything off those shelves.) Any ideas? lastly i made a little curtain for the computer area to hide the computery looking stuff. i still would like to get some sleek storage for the top shelf so that looks uniform as well (maybe my next trip to ikea!)

sorry about the picture quality... there is very little natural light in this room and i haven't been able to figure out how to get the best pictures of it. the before pictures are taken from the day we moved in (before anything came in!) the previous owners had a TON of stuff on the counters and above the cabinets. I am not sure I like how it is decorated right now, but that will have to be a work in progress. the cd player and cd's kinda clutter up the counter... any suggestions for that too?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First Grader

My oldest started first grade today.... she was super excited and a little nervous too. Her backpack and school supplies have all been carefully selected (by her... wow, those are major decisions when you are 6!) She has a fresh haircut and a snazzy new outfit (yes, I am one of "those" moms who likes to dress their kids in a new special outfit for the first day!)

I asked her what she was most excited about for first grade and her response was that she gets her own desk this year. :) We walked to school in the rain (me in flip flops = very bad idea!) Have a wonderful day sweetie!!!!!! I will miss you today.

Monday, August 17, 2009


so learning to ride bike for my oldest daughter has been kind of a challenge. in general she is a bit of a scaredy cat, but in her defense she didn't have a lot of exposure to bike riding since at our old house there was really no good place to ride. the driveway was short and had some major cracks that dipped. the sidewalk in front also had it's issues and the alley was muddy gravel that was difficult to ride on. anyhoo, today she has really seemed to have gotten the hang of riding her bike sans training wheels. she circles into the grass instead of at the end of the driveway, but i am ecstatic. i think teaching this child new skills from potty training to writing her name to bike riding is one of the most frustrating things of motherhood thus far, so i am truly rejoicing that we have crossed this bridge (with minimal skinned knees too!) ) you go girl, i am so proud of you!

oh and by the way, she is still out there riding in circles. it's getting dark, it's bedtime, but i am just so proud of her i don't want her to stop! :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

casseroles at our house........

so my middle child is a MAJOR sweet tooth. as a two year old she would ask anyone and everyone with a purse at church for candy, much to her mother's dismay. one of our local grocery stores always offered candy to kids at the checkout so she also learned to ask every checker at EVERY store for candy. she even asked the security guard at the airport security checkpoint for candy when we flew awhile back. the girl is obsessed with sweets (much like her mother, actually!)
so anyway, last week she came with me to the grocery store (rare occasion, as I usually make sure I shop alone!) and she picked out some Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls. when we got home she said to her older sister quite proudly "LOOK! I picked out some yummy casseroles!" ahhh, a girl after my own heart, if only all casseroles tasted like swiss cake rolls :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Family Vacation

a quick post of some pictures of the girls at the lake last weekend. we had a chilly day on Saturday so no swimming that day, but on Sunday it was GORGEOUS... the girls played on the beach and in the lake ALL day long. Chad took them on canoe rides as well. it was very fun and relaxing!

strike a pose!

she found a little green catepillar :)