Monday, June 30, 2008

Fireworks!

We went to our town fireworks display on Saturday. It always amazes us how well our town of around 4,400 people does with its fireworks display every year. If they would put a smidge of the money they make from all the booths folks set up toward an upgraded sound system, it would be even better!

The kids slid on a huge slide...

We ate snow cones...

And apples...

And funnel cake...



And cotton candy, but I somehow missed pictures of those who got the cotton candy.

Ellie and Kate were at the home of some friends, so they missed the fireworks this year, but Dad and Mom Smith met us at the park with their new chihuahua Maggie. Grace spent most of the fireworks hiding behind Jonathan's back. Stephen was scared by all the noise at first, but after a while, he peaked out from Daddy's chest from under his blanket.

I got a few neat fireworks pictures. My first ever...



Toddlin'

video

Almost too dark to see, but I finally caught him on video. He's toddling further each day.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Katie's Birth Story - Part 2

Approaching The Time:

As we reached the portion of pregnancy when prenatal visits happen every two weeks, we found that Baby just couldn't settle down. One week, head down. Next visit, vertex (sideways). Next visit, head down. 36 week visit... I think the head is here... maybe here? Well, there's time. Baby will settle into a head down position soon.

Three days before the 37 week mark, we enjoyed a leisurely Saturday morning before heading out to Washington, Missouri for a session in a personal growth program with some friends/mentors. The older four children played at another friend's house. Shortly after five in the evening, I realized that the reason I just couldn't get comfortable was that I was having regular contractions! We decided to get on home so that I could lay down, so we picked up the other Blessings and headed home. While we sat at our friends house waiting for the children to get ready to go, I was having to breath and focus to get through contractions.

The stated plan was that we were going home to get things slowed down and hopefully stopped. As I breathed my way home (about a 45 minute drive), I was aware of two things that I was unwilling to even think consciously, much less speak out loud. One was that this was serious labor, and our chances of stopping it were slim to none. The second was that our baby was not head down.

Our time at home that evening is a bit of a blur to me. I remember lying on our bed, making phone calls and trying to not be too picky as I gave Jonathan last minute directions about what to pack. By this point, whether by spoken or unspoken communication, we both knew we were not just going up to the hospital “just in case.” The hospital where our midwife had privileges was about an hour from our home, so we (rather, Jonathan) packed as if we were headed there to have a baby. Then we hit the road again and dropped the oldest four off at Uncle Doug and Aunt Joyce's place on our way to the hospital.

The drive to the hospital was pretty intense. I don't believe that labor was intended to be dealt with while one is buckled in (or strapped down) and unable to move. I think I was mostly quiet on the way... praying and focusing on working with my body.

Katie's Birth Story -
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, The Power of a Picture

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Huge Victory for Missouri Families!

EDIT: See today's press release

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled today in favor of Missouri families by rejecting the case of the Missouri State Medical Association, et al. over language that was signed into law last year to legalize certified professional midwives in Missouri. The ruling was based on the fact that the MSMA et al did not have "standing" in the case - which means they have no true legal interest in the case as the only possible effect for them would be economic. Our lawyers made a terrific case on that!

You can see the opinon and summary here

The plantiffs have 10 days to request a rehearing. We've been told is it very rare for the SC to agree to rehear a case, but the decision won't be "final" until that's over. So keep praying.

If you'd like to help, the Missouri organizations and families who joined the case have $32,000 in legal fees still to pay. You can make donations of any size at freethemidwives.org.

The result of today's decision is that certified professional midwives are now legal in Missouri!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Katie's Birth Story - Part 1

One of my goals for birthday season this year was to write up the Blessings' birth stories and post them on their birthdays. The first three birthdays went by so quickly that I didn't get to any of them (though I'd still like to get them done this summer). I've been working on Katie's, and though I'm not finished yet, I'll post the first installment of her story tonight on her birthday.

Background:
After a good deal of prayer and seeking counsel, we moved to Missouri in August of 2000. Even before we moved, and before I was pregnant with our fifth child, we began preparing for our first hospital birth. We had no desire to birth in a hospital unless there was a medical need to do so, but because independent midwives (like the certified professional midwives who had assisted with our first four births at home in Kansas) were illegal in Missouri, our options were limited. So the learning process began.

One of my first missions upon moving was to find out exactly what options were available to us in the St. Louis area. It was a long and frustrating process! Along the way, I met some wonderful ladies and got involved in Friends of Missouri Midwives – a life changing development, to say the least. After research, interviews, and countless phone calls, we connected with a neat CNM who had delivery privileges at a local hospital. We also began a lifetime friendship with a wonderful Christian lady who agreed to be our doula.

Throughout my pregnancy, I was in a state of learning. I had depended greatly on my midwife for my first four births, but I had a growing realization that there was much that I needed to learn for myself to prepare for birth in Missouri. I learned about birth, about myself, about hospital tests and procedures, and so much more. I read birth story after birth story online, and found that to be one of the most educational and empowering activities I engaged in while my baby grew.

Jonathan and I studied up on standard hospital protocol. We researched various tests and procedures for their evidence-based worth. We decided where we stood and why about a vast array of issues, and did our utmost to fulfill our responsibility to be well-informed decision makers on behalf of our growing child. This would serve us well during labor and delivery. Our only regret is that we were not better prepared for what would happen after the birth...

Katie's Birth Story -
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, The Power of a Picture

Happy Birthday Katie!

Our little Kate turned 7 years old today - wow!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Late Night Visitor

Last night, Jonathan went to see what was making such a racket in our basement (the garage door was open to help dry up some of the water in the basement).

Here's the culprit (after he'd been run out of the basement):

A Milestone

Yesterday's weigh in marked 20 pounds lost since I got serious about getting healthier.

Woot!

31 more to go....

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Boys and "Stuff"




Stephen found a tube of caulk today and managed to get off the end. He's so talented.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Tattoo

I've been intending to revisit the tattoo issue from this post, especially since it was shocking enough that it earned a comment from the only individual in the Blogger system with the listed occupation of "Disenfranchisee."

The tattoo I'm wanting is pretty simple... it's the heart and cross symbol that we used for years as the KBC staff logo. Years before we adopted it as the staff logo, a dear group of KBC friends used it in correspondence, etc.

There are multiple reasons I want to get this as a tattoo. In addition to having a very personal connection to a specific group of dear friends, the heart with the cross is a tribute to KBC as a whole. Bigger than that, what a simple way to express the essence of who I am... because of His great love for me, God sent His only Son to lay down His life for my sin; because He has loved me and saved me, I can give my life to serving and loving Him and His creatures. And besides all that, one of my dear friends already has the tattoo and I've been longing for years to take my rightful place as her twin! ;-) That tells some of you who already has it, doesn't it?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!


This is one of my favorite pictures of my Papa and me. It is so reflective of us.
In the late night hours of this Father's Day Eve, I've been thinking about (and missing) my Papa. On Mother's Day, I had the privilege of enjoying Mama's presence - what a treat! I didn't really have the opportunity for a thoughtful post about her at the time (but I'll get to you too, dear Mama).
I don't know for sure when the above picture was taken, but I will admit that I snagged it from the KBC photo album many years ago. I love Papa's smile. And when I look at my face here, I see complete and utter trust.
They say that your relationship with your earthly father is a significant influence as you develop your view of God, our Heavenly Father. Not only did Papa teach me Biblical principles that were foundational to my theological understanding of God, but he gave me a living example of God's love and faithfulness that deeply influence my view of God relationally.
A few things for which I'm thankful about my Papa...
**Papa lives by principles and taught us how to apply Biblical principles to every day living.
**He showed me what it was like to be treated like a lady... and pounded it into my head that as a child of the King I should act like a lady and be treated as such.
**He helped me to understand the sovereignty of God on a deep and personal level (though I don't claim to "get it" entirely!).
**He gave us an incredible of example of patience in parenting. If I were half as patient as Papa, my children would be so blessed.
**He shows us a living example of what "husbands love your wives" looks like with skin on. This is a great accompaniment to Mama's example of "wives submit to your husbands, as to the Lord."
**He does a terrific monkey impersonation! Which leads to the more general fact that he's a whole lot of fun.
**He prepared me for a husband who loves trouble! ;-)
There's so much more, but I'd best get some sleep.
Happy Father's day to the Papa side of the best parenting duo I've ever seen!
Love you!

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Good Bit of Work

...and our computer desk is pretty clean. It happens so rarely that I thought I should take some pictures.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

First Steps!

Yesterday afternoon, Davey came running in from the living room to tell me that Stephen had taken a couple of steps. Woot for Stephen! A few hours later while we were at the chiropractor's, he took a couple for us and Dr. Mary. How fun!

An amazing thing to me about the fact that he's taking steps is that he's only stood by himself for a few seconds at a time... and only in the last week. That's he's moving forward so quickly is an indication of his personality, I suspect. :-)

I'll see if I can catch him on video soon.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Happy Late Birthday to Davey!

I didn't manage to blog on Friday about Davey's 12th birthday, but thankfully he's very forgiving. Besides, he doesn't read my blog!

So... our oldest Blessing has been with us for over twelve years now. A part of me still says, "Wow, I can't believe it's been that long." And for the first time ever, a part of me says, "Yep, it's been twelve years alright, and I feel every last one of them!"
Just keepin' it real. :-)

Here's Davey with his ice cream cake.

For the record, ice cream cakes are extremely hard to frost. Any suggestions?

Okay, I've got to get away from the computer and use my new freedom for something besides blogging!

Relief!

I have this tremendous sense of freedom and relief today. You see, yesterday afternoon, I finally caught up on my home schooling paperwork - woohoo! Logging hours is my bane, and I keep saying that someday I'll stay on top of it through the school year and not have these weeks-long marathons in May and June where I go through papers that are months old, making sure they're all recorded properly so that if we're ever called to turn in our required paperwork, it will be ready.

Not all of the Blessings are completely done with school work for the year, but they are all going to do at least math throughout the summer months, and have scheduled reading time in the afternoon, which will catch up those that don't have quite enough hours. So, for all intents and purposes, we are on summer break. Yay!

I have soo much to do that I have been setting aside, first for the busy-ness of the legislative session, then for the urgency of figuring out if we need to cramp in last minute hours of school.

Last night, I had a wonderful time sorting through my 3 big tubs of sewing and craft stuff. I was hoping to find some fabulous material for some window mistreatments. I didn't find any, but I did get my tubs nicely organized, which I've been wanting to do for quite a while. We also had a blast looking through my Lord of the Rings quilt blocks, from a block swap I did several years ago. I even started thinking more seriously about putting some of them together, lol!

Then there's all the writing and blogging that I've been wanting to do, the catching up with friends - including those I've recently discovered on Facebook (hi Merri!), the house organization, the planning for next school year, the enjoying the summer with my husband and children, etc. etc.

Yay for summer break!

Monday, June 02, 2008

One Year!

I love the first birthdays. It's always hard to believe it's already been a year. And yet, it's hard to imagine a time when this little one wasn't a part of us.


Stephen turned one today, and I truly spent the day celebrating the gift that he is to us. Not that I didn't also do a blue million other things as well, but you know... multi-tasking!


Again, I didn't get a birth story done yet, but soon...


A couple of cute birthday dinner pics:

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Five Years Ago...

... on a beautiful Kansas night, Victoria Grace came into our arms. She was already in our hearts, and it was a joy to meet her face to face.


Her birth was a wonderful experience - truly one of the high points of my life. I had planned to have her birth story written up to post today, but it got away from me. Perhaps I'll get to that this week.


In the meantime, here is a shot of her tonight at her birthday dinner. My heart is overflowing with thankfulness that the Lord brought this blessing into our family.