Wednesday, July 13, 2016

My head hurts.

ReC has not stopped talking - and moving - for a solid hour. Here's a sample:

"Even two year-old's can put them heads under the water! I am learning to swim, just like Joe and Sam! Look, I can touch the fan with the hula-hoop, here you take the hula-hoop, I don't need it now. When Jamesie touch the fan, him got in trouble. Why me not got in trouble? Was him naughty, and me not naughty? Maybe I can touch the fan if I try again. Let me get the hula-hoop. Fish swim! Me can't swim yet, when me older I can swim. I am two! On my birthday, I will be 3! Sammie is 3! Three, three, three fish in a tree! What? That's silly. Fish can't go in trees, them go in water. Yesterday we went to the zoo. To see lot's of animals. Me went in the cage with the birdies, the lady said me can hold one on my hand - like  this - but him hid behind him tree. Maybe him want to eat instead? Look, I can jump so high on the trampoline! And me can jump from the third step. Jamesie can jump from the next step. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deutoronomy, I John, II John, THIRD JOHN! Jude, Revelation! R is for ReC, and Harmony have an R in the middle of her name. H is Harmony. R - E - C, REC! Cadence is for C. James is for J. Puh, puh, what is for P? Pat! No, Pat, no, don't sit on that! *giggle* We not supposed to hop on people. Only trampolines. Us had a pool long time time ago for me to swim in, but it broke. But me can go in Joe and Sam's. Them have only two kids in them family. Me have four! When me grow up, me can be adult. Adults can drink tea!"

And a random picture just for fun...

Monday, June 20, 2016

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Just Randomness

Things are starting to settle in around here. James basically acts like Harmony has always been here, Cadence mostly just does her own thing, with occasional Harmony love fests, and ReC... well, ReC still adores the baby and want to spend all her time with her. Sometimes I distract her by having her take care of her baby for once.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Memorial Day Art

We had a nice, laid-back Memorial Day. The only downside was the walk of shame as I tried to nonchalantly slink back into house with no one seeing after I absentmindedly checked the mail. James and Cadence were touched to learn the meaning of the holiday, and wanted to do some painting in memory. 

James - A forest. He's all about the Revolutionary war, and said the American soldiers are blending in to the forest waiting for the British to walk by. 

ReC - Untitled.

Cadence - George Washington Without His Wig. She also really likes the Revolutionary war. Cadence was asking what color clothing soldiers wore, so we talked about parade dress and camoflauge, then I found out she really wanted to know what colonial soldiers wore. We had a fun discussion about how uniforms have changed since then, and how not having bright uniforms really helped Washington's army. She and James thought it was hilarious that the British wore bright red. 

Tony - Arlington. The kids had never heard of this, so Tony had them try to guess what he was drawing. When he was almost done Cadence finally figured out it was a cemetary, and was very sad to realize how many men and women have died - and are still dying - in war. I think it really helped make war less glamorous in their minds to see. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Three Weeks - Part Two {Sort of a Post About Harmony}

Harmony was three weeks old last week, which is what made me start thinking about Baby K again last week. I've been thinking about how hard it's going to be to leave her for a couple days - and then not be able to take care of her, really, for a little while longer after that - when I have my surgery in a month. But in spite of knowing it will be very hard, I didn't feel completely stressed or anxious. And that's when it dawned on me... God didn't just bring Baby K to us for her parents' sake.

It was for me.

If we had never had Baby K, I don't know if I would be able to do this. I would be a complete wreck right now, worrying, anxious, nervous, afraid. See, my only experience before Baby K was breastfed babies who wouldn't take bottles, and cried if anyone else tried to put them to sleep. The only stories I had heard about breastfed babies being away from their mothers was that that was the end of breastfeeding - and how on earth were we going to fit formula into our budget? I would have been heartbroken, thinking about my baby crying and crying, hungry, not eating, and then the stress of not being able to re-lactate, and how stressful it would be for my baby to be away from me. But it wasn't like that with Baby K. She had never had a bottle before - but she took one just fine for us. She had never been away from her parents - but she didn't cry and fuss any more than any other newborn. In fact, she was super laid-back and easy to care for, at least compared to my other newborns! When she went back to her parents for visits, she didn't seem stressed, and she latched right on and nursed great, even though it had been five full days before the first visit. By the end of that week, her mom had been able to pump enough that her milk supply was almost completely back already, even though that first big gap almost completely dried it up. And seeing how God helped this incredibly traumatizing even in Baby K's life not be traumatizing to her really helped my faith for our family too!

And so I am thankful, that God was able to use hard times to bring a blessing to me - a blessing of peace in my heart.

And a gratuitous picture of Harmony's first bath, since I haven't blogged enough pictures for my nephew :) 

As a side note, I talked to a lactation consultant while I was in the hospital, and she doesn't think it will be a problem at all. My doctor already said we will pump while we wait for surgery that morning, and then again as soon as I'm out of recovery, and then as often as needed while in the hospital, so there will never actually be a gap in my supply to worry about. The only stressful part (other than having a major surgery, haha) will just be being away from my kids, and trying not to worry about Harmony and the 'big' kids :)

Friday, May 27, 2016

Three Weeks - Part One {Not a Post About Harmony}

I've been meaning to write a post like this for a while, now. It's not really my story to tell, but I'm going to. It's about the little baby in this picture -

and this one -

She was three weeks old when we got her, and we call her Baby K. You see, sometimes when God does something in our lives, we wonder and wonder and question and never know why. We know we can trust Him and His plan, and we can have peace without knowing why. And then other times, we get a pretty crystal clear picture of why. It was pretty obvious right from the start why God brought Baby K to our family for a couple weeks.

It was for her parents.

We'd never done parent visits before, because we were only short term emergency foster care. But this time we agreed to it, because she was breastfeeding, and because we knew we would only have her a little while - we thought until six weeks, when she would move to a long term foster placement. I felt so incredibly nervous and clueless when I showed up for the first visit, and confused and emotional when I left. Baby K's parents were so obviously hurting, but after all, there must be a reason *I* had their baby instead of them, and I didn't really trust their emotions as being sincere love - at least, not the kind of love that sacrifices, that gives things up and makes changes to prove itself.

Over the next week I saw them almost every day. And every day they came in, eager to tell me everything they had done and accomplished in those twenty-four hours. Nervous. Anxious that it wouldn't be enough. A little angry at a system that had more power than them, and scared - so scared they would fail. They worked themselves ragged. They didn't rest. They had appointments, meetings, paperwork, more appointments, checklists, she pumped round the clock, he worked overtime and fixed a salvaged truck to sell so they could buy some things they needed to care for a baby. They sacrificed. And every day when I saw them they were so happy to have their girl in their arms for an hour, and looked so haunted when they left.

And every day they told me, in varying phrases, "We made mistakes. We're getting them fixed so we can have our baby back. But we wouldn't have survived this without you. Thank you so much for loving our baby today. Thank you so much for being here. It was so scary when they took her, we didn't know where she would end up, and we worried about her so much, but then we met you, and we saw your kids with you, and the way you held her, and it was a little more ok. Thank you. We're so thankful she's in a loving home, and that you were willing to do this." And every day I prayed for them, because I didn't know, really, how to help them, but I knew God could.

The story ends well - Baby K's parents were able to get the help they needed and they were reunited after just 10 days. I still pray for them, because life is hard and messy, and I don't know where there story went from there, but I know God brought Baby K to us - for their sake.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Answers to Prayer {Not a Birth Story}

I am so grateful to God for all His blessings over the last month. Our sermon tonight at church was based around the verse "He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." And He certainly is a rewarder! I wanted to share just a few of the specific prayers we had before Him about Harmony's birth and my health, and the wonderful ways He answered! Some are small, some are big, some were a special blessing to our family that wouldn't seem like a big deal to others, but all were evidence of His love!

Being able to take care of the kids through the end of the pregnancy. In some ways I actually felt better through the last trimester than I did with the other kids - certainly better than the first trimester! I was able to finish out the school year with Cadence, take them places (even to visit Mommy), and play outside with them. Talk about a change from the fall and winter!

That being induced would not make delivery more complicated. We do not ever take for granted that labor and delivery will go without complications, and especially so with an induction. But, God definitely had His hand in this! My labor was only about 4.5 hours from when they started pitocin, and only 3 hours from when the doctor came and broke my water. It did not feel any harder or intense than any of my other labors, which was also an answer to prayer, because many people say induced labors are more painful.

That I wouldn't be sick from not eating before they induced labor. This is one of those prayers that I felt a little silly praying - but I was still battling morning sickness a little even at the end, especially if I didn't eat breakfast. I really didn't see how I could cope with the strain of labor without sustenance, but I didn't feel at all hungry the entire time, let alone light headed or sick.

I was not required to have an epidural. When things first started getting strange in my pregnancy, it was mentioned that it might be wise to have an epidural, just in case of surgery. Now... to some people it will be weird that I didn't want one, but... I hate needles. With a passion. And have you seen an epidural needle?! They are huge! Getting my IV in was the worst part of the whole process (more on that, next ;)), so when my doctor said there was no medical reason to have one, and he certainly wouldn't push me to get one if I didn't want it, I was so thankful!

I didn't pass out getting my IV. I know, I'm a weeny. But the whole room was spinning, everything was going black, I was getting cold sweats, and the nurse was on her second try - if I passed out she would have to stop and start all over again. So I looked at Tony, and he mouthed "I know, I'm praying". And I didn't pass out! Not only that, when the nurse had to dig around even more in my other arm to draw blood, it didn't even really bother me.

That I would have strength, and that Harmony would be safe. This was a spur of the moment, biggie sort of prayer in the middle of labor. Harmony's heart tones kept dropping during contractions, and there was a little bit of a delay (seriously, little) in progress. I was feeling pretty tired and weak, and a little worried about Harmony. There was a moment though, when the nurse had to step out to call the doctor, to see what he wanted us to do about these problems, and I looked at Tony and said, "We need to pray." "Yup, we do." So we prayed while it was just the two of us, and God immediately answered prayer. I felt strengthened, progress picked back up, and Harmony's heart tones smoothed out.

That delivery wouldn't cause any damage that would make it harder to deal with my other problem while waiting for surgery. This was another sort of biggie - I knew I wouldn't be able to take care of the kids if this happened. And guess what? Harmony literally fell out onto the bed with no pushing, and no tearing or bruising. They kept saying, "Don't push, the doctor is almost here!" And I said (or probably yelled, because 'not pushing' is hard work) "I'm NOT PUSHING but she's coming anyway!" About then she plopped onto the bed, and that was that. Apparently she didn't really think having a doctor there was all that important after all.

And of course, that my complications wouldn't hinder delivery. By the time it came right down to it, we were pretty sure it wouldn't be an issue, but we were all still a little paranoid - including the doctor. So we are very thankful that things went smoothly.

I could go on and on, because there were so many little things that God helped with, but I wanted to mention just one more - help with the 'big' munchkins. We were particularly worried about ReC, because we found out just a few days before Harmony was born that she thought we were leaving forever when we went to the hospital - that we would live there, and she would live at home with her grandmas. Needless to say, this idea was making her pretty emotional, and while we had been able to mostly calm her fears, it was still concerning. So we were very thankful to get the report that she woke up happy and stayed happy and peaceful the entire time we were gone! Thank the Lord for all His blessings!

Waiting for things to start happening...

New bundle :)

She has hair!