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Settling in at home

September 29, 2014

Sunday looks different now. Mass still at 7:30 a.m. but now followed by church class until 10:00 a.m. Max and I (and Elizabeth) opted to partake of the Sunday morning graces from home.

What a gift to have Aunt Jen and Julius come visit. Sweet Clare laughed so hard as Julius snuck in and played a bit of abbreviated hide and seek. Aunt Jenny is always so good to make her visits fun and memorable. The kids adore her and the loud raucous that is sure to follow in her presence. I hate we don’t see more of them during the week. This dang city of Atlanta is just too big for a quick get-together when you live 30+ miles from one another.

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His Godparents were able to come over for a little introduction also. We’ve walked many years side-by-side and welcomed babies and life events and all kinds of things together. We are honored that they accepted the invitation to be Max’s godparents. We couldn’t be happier.

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I can’t believe this picture. The older girls have been friends since before their first birthday and now there are so many more faces in this pictures of friends. I still need to photoshop in Elizabeth’s face. What a gift that after 10 years there are still memories to be made together!!

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Michael loves holding his brother. He is truly in love. Brothers are the best, right? I’m so thankful he gets this opportunity and there is another baby in our house to teach us so much more about loving, living, and growing together as a family. Little Max is pretty special and is already touching each of us in different ways.

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Wide eyed and awake…Michael’s favorite time for snuggles.

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I’m so thankful tomorrow is Monday AND Nate is home all week to spend this time with us. My recovery is going well, but I’m moving pretty slow for sure and taking it easy. There are a lot of physical limitations that catch me off guard, but it’s a time that won’t last long. Just trying to keep it in perspective, rest, and allow those around me who are able to assist. I’m thankful to have a houseful of help this week!!! To those reading this humble blog, hope your week goes well!!

Thank you to those who have offered to bring us meals. I’m so grateful!! For those who have requested the information, you can find the calendar HERE. Thank you to a sweet friend for setting it up on our behalf!

Home Sweet Home!

September 28, 2014

Home is always home and a welcomed blessing.

Belly sleeping

Godmother came to visit and brought the very best pumpkin muffins for mommy and her to enjoy over a quick recap and lots and lots of snuggles.

Belly sleeping

Sweet baby boy gave me a run for my money last night. The little man just couldn’t be satisfied with his pacifier, own fingers, or the blanket tucked up by his face. Instead, he wanted only to sleep snuggled with mommy. How do you keep him asleep and snuggled? You lay him on his belly at less than two days old just hoping you don’t freak out the nurses too badly and you watch him like a hawk until he wakes up.

Belly sleeping

Sweet girl came to spend the last few hours at the hospital with daddy & I and baby Max. We covered many important things…how to raise and lower the hospital bed, climb to pet your new brother, visit the hospital pantry, and that Baby Max was no longer in my tummy, a horse was no longer in her tummy & a frog wasn’t in daddy’s tummy anymore either.

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Belly sleeping

Home sweet home!!

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Belly sleeping

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Thanks Mom & Dad for holding down the fort these last few days. We love you!! Our kids are blessed to be sharing these days with you and calling you Grana & Papa! THANK YOU!

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Welcome Baby Max

September 27, 2014

Our sweet boy is here. He’s really, really here. Welcome to the family sweet boy.

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I’ll try to spare the real delivery details, but I’d like to tell a bit of the story.

The day began with check-in at 6:00 a.m.

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Pitocin started at 7:00 a.m. and water broke at 8:00 a.m. Epidural on around 9:00 or so.

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Lots of waiting and a shift change was the perfect time to pass out chocolates to the nurses and doctors. It’s the little things that make these often forgotten professionals feel special. I am always so grateful for the care I receive at Northside Hospital.

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Michael took this picture, because he liked that there was a chart near the nurses station showing that Max was one of two babies arriving at that moment.

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Just to further intensify my dislike for epidurals, Max’s epidural didn’t work correctly and after a multitude of complications, our little man was born at 2:06 p.m. without pain meds and in God’s graces without a lengthy or dramatic delivery, and weighing 7 pounds 10 ounces….much, much smaller than anticipated and a welcomed blessing.

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He is healthy, tolerated the double nuchol cord well, and is absolutely a precious love. What was thought to be a potentially complicated delivery, with a greater chance of CSection, ended up being more about my own complications than anything with the baby. God works in wondrous ways, right?!

The family was able to come visit within a few hours of delivery. As an aside, I love that everyone showed up in blue to honor our little boy. (I don’t believe it was actually planned.)

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The kids were able to be there for his measurements and first feeding. It seems Max was a bit traumatized after delivery and dropped his blood sugar low enough to warrant a quick feeding and a 2 hour nurse watch.

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I think outside of Nate & I, Grana was the first to hold Maximilian. Precious, right?!

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Just the boys. Michael is so proud of his little brother and already madly in love.

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There’s something about the fight over holding a newborn baby that is just fantastic. Poor Papa had to come back later in the evening to get a proper turn of his own. Grandparents and siblings are really the best though.

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Before the end of visiting hours, Max was visited by dear friends. It was so much fun celebrating his life with such friends. Oh my was there some serious celebrating and energy in the room. We love that you were able to share a few moments with us in his first hours of life.

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Papa and Katie Girl visited until Max & I crawled into bed for the night. It’s really great to see Papa with the newest baby. It’s such a blessing when he can be here for delivery day. God willing, he’ll never miss another significant life moment. (Please continue to pray for secure work in Atlanta for both him and mom!)

Feeling much more human on Day #2, it’s nice to have visitors who celebrate our newest blessings. A new baby is truly a miracle worth celebrating and sharing.

Grana & Papa were the first to visit at 9:00 a.m. after morning preschool carpool. What a gift to have them here in the quiet of the morning and relaxation of the day. They were able to hang out a good part of the day. So nice to catch up without the activity of life. In a strange way, it’s not hard to treasure the hospital moments for sure.

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Such a dear friend and expecting momma too! I can’t wait to hold her little girl in early December!

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Nate brought the kids up after lunch to really interact with their new brother. Katie of course stole him first, then Michael, but a quick third was Clare’s turn. Such a sweet moment. She was so excited and Elizabeth took her cues from big sis quite quickly also.

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Gosh to be a family of 7 now.

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Michael declared Max to be his favorite. I love it. I pray these two boys grow to treasure a special relationship that his brotherhood.

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After a late afternoon nap, it was such a surprise to see Mom & Katie & Anna walking through the door to spend time with Max & I. It was a perfect moment to share together. Aunt Anna oh how we have missed you these past months. Life really shouldn’t be that busy, really! Thanks for getting the time off and spending some days with us. (Aunt Jenny, we will see you soon!!!)

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Max is truly “one of our kids”. He looks so much like the first kids with his round little face and petite features. Such a sweetie who has stolen so many hearts already.

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We can’t wait to introduce you and share our love with everyone. Here’s to celebrating our son’s first 32 hours.

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I know so many have been gracious to ask how they can help us in these next days and weeks ahead. For those who are local, meals are always a welcome blessing. I’ve listed the information below for convenience sake. THANK YOU!

http://www.TakeThemAMeal.com

Recipient Last Name: Boster
Password: 3764

Just Waiting and Enjoying Life

September 25, 2014

So this week has brought seriously fall-like weather and fantastic temperatures. With mom & dad here this week, it was the perfect excuse to spend some time outside and explore some much loved, but not often visited parks. Everyone loves the park! Everyone is happy to have Grana & Papa here this week!

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Our baby isn’t going to be the baby for much longer.

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Soon to be a big brother, Michael has rediscovered his love for swinging. The monkey bars are still being mastered fully, but the “new” parks have offered many more climbing/swinging delights. He’s so proud of himself and this new-found skill.

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The girls love them also. It’s amazing how strong our 3-year-old Clare can be. She’s seriously one determined girl, and is constantly surprising us. Nothing gets in her way, ever!

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I love that our kids are always seeking things of wonder. Michael found this great little wood chip with a perfectly sized hole. Cool, right?!

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Katie loves chasing squirrels and is constantly marveling at how much she’s growing and things around her are changing. Thankfully, this was a very small space, but she was delighted to still fit. HA!

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This girl is all things joy and exudes life into everything.

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Baby girl. Such a sweet baby girl.

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So…tonight is the last night as an official family of 6. Tomorrow morning at 6 a.m. I check into the hospital for induction and God willing, our baby Max will be here “soon” thereafter. Please, join us in praying for a blessed delivery and wise doctors and nurses to guide us. You can be sure pictures will be posted as soon as possible tomorrow.

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When Faith is Tested

September 18, 2014

Today marks 38 weeks gestation for our little man Max. Well, he’s actually going to be our big man Max I think. (Sorry I look so tired in this picture, admittedly I am.)

001At today’s ultrasound, the tech kept remarking how very big his belly was measuring. It seems in fact, she was also able to record a few fat rolls around said belly. Who knew…fat shows up on ultrasound, even baby fat. HA! The good news, he isn’t measuring quite as large as thought he might at this point. However, we also know that given the disproportionate size of his belly that it has thrown off all the measurements to some degree. We will be pleasantly surprised at his size and apparently existence of fat rolls when he makes his appearance in our arms very, very soon.

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He is head down and facing backward…all good signs in presenting for delivery. I know the picture is terrible, but in these last days, it’s hard to get a glimpse of anything but head, belly, spine, and an occasional flailing limb. In a quick moment, he uncurled and threw up a foot…the bottom of the foot is pointing directly upward and positioned in a perfect horizontal line. I’m sure I’m not alone in treasuring this one little terrible photo of my unborn baby. (i know there are other photo crazed mothers that will hold onto even the worst of pictures just as a record of this time.) I love ultrasounds as they somehow provide a beautiful little glimpse into a hidden world of wonder and grace and witness to God’s love. The growing of life is truly precious and yet incredibly complicated. Today, I’m relying on God’s knowledge to work out all these details, and am even more thankful he is the mastermind behind all these details.

I’d like to beg for your prayers as this morning’s appointment gave me/us a lot to consider and unfortunately included one surprise after another.

Most pressing on my personal intention list is for our little Max’s safety while in utero and throughout delivery. It seems that in all his ability to move around amidst the abundance of fluid he has enjoyed, he has managed to tangle himself twice in the umbilical cord. In theory (as we all know the other possible scenarios), this doesn’t present a tremendous problem until the end stages of delivery.

The way I understand this first case scenario is that delivery would happen either spontaneously or by induction and would proceed until the baby’s heart rate dropped (in those final stages) during labor/delivery. They’d monitor the drops and speed by which the baby recovers between contractions. Should the heart rate not bounce back immediately, then an immediate C-section would transpire. He assured me that he had delivered a twice wrapped baby within the last 24 hours successfully. It can be done. It’s Baby #5 and I still marvel at all the “new” possible scenarios.

Secondly, it seems that while he has grown to be big and healthy due to an abundance of fluid, I am now measuring below normal for fluid. This of course presents a different scenario of problems that also might lead to an “emergency” c-section. Another ultrasound is scheduled for Monday afternoon and will give us a better indication. For now, I will no longer try to encourage labor, but take it easy and wait until Monday.

Although I had hoped that my body was progressing toward a reasonable time frame for delivery (i.e. this weekend), it seems that not only is Max content to rest in his dark and warm abode, but my body isn’t ready to encourage him otherwise. This is a great gift in one sense, but should we need to deliver early, it does present complications to induction. So my second intention presents itself here. That my body would begin to prepare for delivery, the cervix would soften and next week’s decisions would include one less factor to consider.

However, in addition to Max’s ability to continue breathing normally beyond delivery, I’d like also to beg prayers for my doctor and any decisions that need to be made next week. None of these scenarios are life-threatening in and of themselves, but it is another level of anxiety that a perfectionist and control-freak doesn’t relish. Hence, the title of this post; “when faith is tested”.

It seems we are always presented opportunities to work on the same set of virtues. Thank God we have a good and gracious, all-loving God who has each of these details already planned and worked out. I simply need to catch up in grace, and abandon myself to His divine providence and await the unfolding of His perfect design. My head tells me He has got this, but sometimes my heart and my ability to act in faith needs time to execute that wholeheartedly.

This pregnancy was a beautiful surprise from the very beginning, it has been incredibly blessed with great numbers, lots of energy, and tons of strength. I am forever grateful that it’s only in these last days that it has become increasingly difficult. I’m tired and ready to meet our little man.I’m ready to have his birth story written down and in the past, and a lifetime ahead to live. Just a few more days and it seems that will be a reality. So…until then, please lift Max and I and my doctor in prayer. I feel weak (not where I like to be, but none-the-less right where God wants me right now). One of my aunts reminded me that she was wearing her boxing gloves ready to knock out Satan if he tried to sway her today. I love that image. I pray for big, all encompassing boxing gloves of my own. The devil has no place in the beauty and sanctity of life. I will continue the fight of faith and abandonment. Thank you to those who are joining us in this intention over the next few days. Blessings to you also!

Pablo Picasso is in the House

September 13, 2014

This week’s art class was another huge success. I couldn’t be more proud of the students’ abstract portraits and their ability to play with irregular portrait concepts.

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Students were encouraged to play with the use of color, shapes, and out of balance symmetry…all concepts Picasso tested to the limits in his art.

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By using magazine images to capture their portrait’s main facial features, the students were able to capitalize on the irregularity of abstract art. The use of color further highlights this time period.

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Further playing with this idea of irregular shapes and patterns, students used a die to create one-of-a-kind pieces of art. You can see the foundation for this project HERE.

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Students were also given the option of creating their trading cards in the original “magazine” style.

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As a reminder to all participants, please use these next few weeks to finish your trading cards. You should make certain that all 9 have been drawn, colored, and glued to the patterned paper. You are also encouraged to create your own designs on the patterned paper with any media accessible to you; stickers, ribbon/yarn, confetti, glitter, etc. These cards will then be traded during the May showcase.

I look forward to seeing you in November. You can find registration information HERE.

Adventuring with Grana & Papa

September 12, 2014

Our homeschool group found a little water hole earlier this summer. However, with two young babies and a 40 minute drive to get there, I just wasn’t game to try it on my own. Thank God I didn’t. It was a seriously fun day, but one set of eyes is not enough on four kids in the water with rapids and varying degrees of water depth. Water sort of freaks me out anyway, mostly unnecessarily, but none-the-less it’s not an area I’m likely to ever opt to take a risk.

After a longish drive, lunch was first on the list. Clare was so delighted with her little perch on the rock. We chose to sit in our camp chairs behind the car, but Clare was all about her rock.

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The butterflies were everywhere and several different varieties. This one happened to be hovering all over Michael’s flip flop. Was it the matching color or the smell that was the biggest draw? I wish I knew. However, take a close look at this shoe. It and its match are surely still floating down the Amicalola River.

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The big kids were so delighted to explore the bends with Papa. I’m not really sure who was more unsteady on their feet, but for sure Michael ended up falling the most. Even from a distance, it was delightful to hear his laugh.

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While the big kids explored, the littles were under my watchful eye near the shoreline and in the wading pools. Clare declared this burnt log her dragon. She mounted him and yelled “yee-haw” all the while encouraging and directing Elizabeth how to get on herself.

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The little girls longed to be part of the big-kid & papa action. Thankfully, they were able to share some time of their own “out in the middle”.

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Everybody loves Papa. I think it’s safe to say that Elizabeth holds a special affection for her hero and top of the world companion. At 6’5″, I’m sure it’s an added bonus when Papa holds you. Having seen him the least in her short little life, she has lost no ground in spending time in his arms. There is no doubt she loves her “Bopa”.

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Thanks to Mom (dry and in the shade under the trees along the shore) she was able to capture a pretty great story in these pictures. Elizabeth had already reached her capacity for water fun and was ready for a nap. Having done nothing but cry with the last few steps, I threw her wet body onto my hip and prepared to make our exit back to the car.

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Clare was surely not finished playing and in this moment is already being re-warned of her boundaries until Papa could get closer and take over.

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Ohhh. Clearly she overstepped her boundaries. However, I had no idea my other two were struggling to cross the middle rapids.

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At this final moment, I have both babies well contained, screaming their heads off, and I’m ready to give some attention to my big kids encouraging them to make their exit, only to look up and find both of them struggling to gain their footing and no where near exiting themselves.

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So, final thoughts on the day?

Adventures are fun and surely never go the way you anticipate. We never did find the original location (or what I thought was the right location based on pictures friends had shared throughout the summer). However, the kids, all of them loved this new water experience. Papa found a great little place in his new “outdoor” surroundings. There might even be a place to fly fish on another occasion. Today, the location provided something for everyone. I love that most of all. The water was cool enough that my very pregnant self was comfortable, and Papa was along to both assist in the water and drive us on this adventure. I didn’t even have to navigate thanks to Grana. Papa says, “It is more fun playing in the river than in the snow.”

(As an aside, Casper received their first snowfall of the season today. It was close to 90F here, which made the below freezing temperatures back “home” even more surreal. I think there will be many more days spent loving the outdoors here in the south than were possible in Wyoming. Well, different days at least. Papa’s adventuring has started off on a good note I think. At least my crew is quite happy!) I think maybe next season we will have to find our way back to Devil’s Elbow again.

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