Monday, December 21, 2009

The Week's Random Thoughts

To journal or blog is very cathartic for me...if I can get them out of head and onto paper (or screen in this case) it prevents them from clanging into each other in my mind creating mass confusion and an anxious heart. Here are some of those thoughts:

Monday Morning:
Maybe if I start to exercise again and not eat a lot, then maybe the baby would miscarry. It would be so much easier to just have it “go away” quickly.

Monday Evening:
I would do anything if it would mean that I could hold this baby, if only for a few minutes. Oh, how my heart aches to be able to hold this baby.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4

If it looks like I am strong, it is Christ.

This is just not fair.
I tell the kids all the time, “Life is not fair. It’s our job to be content with what we have been given.”

I’m thankful that God is more concerned with my personal holiness, than my happiness…but right now, I’d rather be happy.

I wish the waves were predictable…instead they come and go on their own accord.

I want to melt away and let the earth swallow me up.

I don’t want to do this anymore. I want who I was spiritually last Monday morning to be stronger, more reliant on God…but this life that “will never be the same again” is almost too much for my heart to take.

Sammy asks, “Mommy, why are you so sad?”

I’m done washing and reusing plastic bags. I give myself permission to not care about what ends up in the landfills right now.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:28 – Thank you Julie M for the reminder!

Livvy says, “I don’t want it to be a sister anymore”.

I want a miracle.

We all say, “Psalm 118:24 - This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it!”

You Must Suffer – John Piper

Psalm 119:68—"Thou art good and doest good."

I’m nervous about going to church. What if I break down and cry? What if I don’t?

Sometimes, neither good nor bad, people’s hugs feel like they are more for them then for me. I don’t mind. We just all must grieve differently, experience other’s grief differently, or maybe makes them re-experience past grieves.

It was just brought to my attention in a note/prayer from a friend that I have 4 children. I will always have one more than what I have around me.

Somehow there is a quiet peace in my heart and head.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dear Friends and Family

We write to you with very heavy hearts. At 13 weeks pregnant Jenn had her first OB visit; and because the doctor was not able to detect a heartbeat, an ultrasound was performed. The u/s tech was able to detect a heartbeat, albeit not as strong as it should have been. The u/s tech also saw some things that gave her concern. The OB informed Jenn of the findings. She said that it appeared at this point that the baby is anencephalic . The prognosis is either the baby will naturally miscarry sometime over the next several months, or the baby will be carried to full-term but that the baby would die within hours or days of birth.

We know that God is good. We know that His ways are not our ways. We know that all things work together for good for those who love Him. God in His great mercy has been preparing us for this, though it is certainly nothing that we would choose to go through or wish for anybody else. In some things that we’ve been reading and listening to, we are more and more convinced that God has a greater plan than we could ever imagine. Our job is to let go of our right to ourselves, stop fighting for what we want, what we think should happen. Our job is let God use the path He has chosen to bring us to a deeper and more personal knowledge of Him, and sometimes that can only come through suffering. We choose to stand on Him and His promises. Faith isn’t faith until it is the only thing you’re standing on.

We believe that every life is a precious gift from God. We will try our best to treasure each moment that we have with this little one, from hopeful kicks from inside the womb to whatever amount of time that God allows us to have with our little one once he or she is born. Our prayers right now, among many others that you can imagine we’re praying, is that if God allows us to carry this little one to term that the baby’s organs would be viable and used to help other families whose babies are in desperate need of a transplant. It gives our pain some hope and purpose.

The road before us looks to be a very long and hard road to walk. We invite you to walk it with us. We need you, our family and church family, to surround us with your loving arms, to lift us up in prayer. If you see us at church, at work, at playgroup, or around town, feel free to ask us how we’re doing. But please don’t be offended if we can only give you is a short or pat answer. It is still so raw and we can imagine that it will be for quite sometime, that it will be too hard for us open up with everybody.

We love you.

Tom and Jenn

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Busy Morning

There are many things that need to get done this morning - laundry, bed sheets, remake beds, brush hair, brush teeth, have devotions, and leave the house by 9:15 so that I can drop the kids off at Sara's to watch them while I go to my first OB appt at 10. So, why am I taking the time to blog about it? Because I know that time is fleeting, my brain is on holiday somewhere, and I do want to remember these prescious times...God will give the grace and strength to get done what needs to get done, the rest can wait until tomorrow.

Sammy rests his index finger thoughtfully on his chin and says, "When I was a little boy..."

Ben calls out from all corners of the house, "Ma ma! Ma ma! Ma ma!" -I'm hidden on top of Livvy's bunk remaking her bed...I wonder how long I'll be able to climb up there before a big belly gets too much in the way?

Livvy says, as she's taking the umpteenth armful of laundry from the bedrooms to the laundry room, "Mom, we have too much laundry." I say, "Well, maybe we shouldn't have so many clothes." She says, "No way! Our clothes will get too dirty to wear on Sunday."

Mom's thinking - Math problem: I just put away the last of the one load of laundry that I started on Wed. With four loads of laundry to do today, not counting the exponential accumulation of laundry in the following days, when will laundry be done? Dad, I need your help. I've never been good at word problems. Is sometime before the new year the right answer? Humph. Maybe we should consider fig leaves making a come-back as a friend suggested on FB.

Must go...times a ticking.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Week So Far

After a wonderful Thanksgiving with some friends up here in Flagstaff and then down in Phx with the fam., we slowly made our way through snow covered roads back into Flag. Saturday night. Sunday morning before the sun barely had time to rise, the kids were out in their snow gear for the first real snow. They were so excited and so perplexed as to why I did not want to join them outside...I stayed safe inside cuddling my warm coffee cup.
That evening we "trimmed" the tree - well, it's more like taking it out of the box and fluffing, fluffing, fluffing, and then putting on endless amounts of ornaments. After the decorating of the tree by the children, we've since redistributed some of the ornaments so that they can have their own branch and making sure all the breakable were up about two feet. We all had fun.
In my attempts of using the last of Tom's first elk, to hopefully be replaced by another one this coming weekend, I made homemade elk-burgers...with extras. Along with the usual lettuce and tomatoes, we had some caramelized mushroom and onions, sprouts, and chipotle mustard/mayo sauce/dip that went very well with the homemade french fries. Yum! After Tom put all the fixins' on his, it looked picture perfect.
Yesterday all three of my boys got hair cuts. Nothing new for Sammy and Tom, but seeing Ben with a big-boy haircut has taken some getting used to...he's of course super cute, but looks a little like a new recruit.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Livvy's 5th Birthday

It's hard to believe but our little 6lb 6oz baby girl just turned five years old! Friday morning she woke up to pink streamers decorating the counter and five balloons taped to her chair. She opened some presents that morning before Tom had to leave from work...a cat umbrella from mommy and daddy.

Saturday at 10:30 was her party. She'd had dad's help in making of list of all the things that she wanted to have at her party: pizza, balloons, cake, dance, etc. I think we covered all of them.

Thankfully the weather was really nice, so the kids spent a good part of the time outside chacing balloons and enjoying the new fort that our neighbors gave us.

Then we all went inside for the craft. I went back and forth and back again trying to figure out what kind of craft to have the kids do that they would enjoy and take up time. The morning of the party the idea of decorating popcorn balls came to me...easier than paint to clean up, less time prep than decorating cookies, they'd be getting sugar because of the cake anyways, so a little more didn't really matter, and no little crafty thing for parents to try to figure what to do with once they got home. Perfect!
The kids had lots of fun smearing icing all over their popcorn balls and dumping sprinkles on top.
Also last minute, I remembered that we had this Dance! Dance! Veggie Tales game that I had put in the attic because the kids didn't seem quite old enough to figure it out. The kids all lined up and gave it their best shot. And it saved me from having to lead some type of party game (if you haven't noticed, parties aren't my thing).

After craft and games we had pizza, cake and then opening presents. All in all I think it was a great success...and most importantly, Livvy had tons of fun with all of her friends.
Ben really enjoyed the strawberry cake.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The First Thanksgiving Day Play

Thanks to Kelly Phillips, another homeschooling mom, the kids got to be a part of a Thanksgiving play. Kelly wrote and "directed" the short production for the 16 kids from seven homeschooling families on Friday night - thanks Kelly! All of the kids did very well considering the varying ages and temperments. It was a very fun time of watching the kids say their lines (plus some ad-lib ones from Livvy) and "act"; and then enjoy some treats and hot chocolate afterwards. What a great way to kick-off the holiday season.

Here are my little pilgrim mommy and Indian boy.
"Here is a turkey with his tail spread wide..."
"Our harvest is full."
"God Cares For His People"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Elisabeth Elliot

Through my mother's influence I've become a bigger and bigger fan of Elisabeth Elliot. After listening to a recorded talk of hers that my mom gave us, I've a new appreciation for her straight forward, honest, from-the-Bible approach to life. She truly strives to interrupt life through a Biblical lens and nothing matter how difficult or out-of-character it might seem to us.

In this set of five cd's, she talks on the simpler life. Totally and completely surrendering to God is the only way to have that simple, peaceful life... If you truly believed that the God of the universe was walking by your side every day, that He cared for you, knew all things that were and that were going to be, how would your life be different? Extremely! A life of faith is opposite of a life of fear. Even the most trying of times couldn't knock us from our safe and solid ground, Jesus Christ our rock and saviour!

Here are a couple of poems that Ellisabeth quotes that gave my heart a new prayer:

Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes
All my own desires and hopes
And accept Thy will for my life.
I give myself, my life, my all
Utterly to Thee to be Thine forever.
Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit
Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt
And work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost now and forever.
Betty Scott Stam

Do the Next Thing
At an old English parsonage down by the sea,
there came in the twilight a message to me.
Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven
that, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.
And all through the hours the quiet words ring,
like a low inspiration, 'Do the next thing.'

Many a questioning, many a fear,
many a doubt hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
time, opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
trust that with Jesus, do the next thing.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer,
do it reliantly, casting all care.
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,
who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on omnipotence, safe 'neath His wing,
leave all resultings, do the next thing.

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
working or suffering be thy demeanor,
in His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
the light of His countenance, be thy psalm.
Do the next thing.
author unknown

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Fun

So now you know, my sweet mild-mannered (like you would believe that) husband is really Superman...he's always been to me anyway. He had fun saving the world one home-bound patient at a time. Isn't he so studly!?!
On Friday night we got to work carving our four pumpkins. Livvy wanted a happy face with a shooting star. Sammy wanted a monster truck. We didn't ask Ben what he wanted. The big kids had fun scrapping the guts out of their pumpkins, while Ben enjoyed flinging pumpkin seeds around with a large metal spoon.

Here they are, the princess, her knight and the terrible dragon. They were told to stand still, smile and look at the camera...maybe they thought there were "or's" instead of "and's" in those commands, since obviously there was some form of miscommunication.

After trick-or-treating, we told the kids that now we could give candy out to other kids. They thought that that sounded like a great fun. As the waiting went from 5min to 15min, we decided to give the boys their bath. Livvy stayed glued to the window, watching for trick-or-treaters. I joined her in her sad vigil, we hummed a little made-up tune. Finally three little glow-sticks, beacons of hope, appeared to be coming across our front yard. It was trick-or-treaters! Livvy got so excited she could hardly contain herself. She looked at me with the biggest of smiles, "Mommy, I prayed for someone to come!" Livvy thought giving out candy was way better than trick-or-treating.
Here's Livvy and Sammy lining up all the candy to give out...hoping, hoping some more kids would come.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This and That

We had a fun family weekend. On Saturday, after naps we drove up to Lockett Meadow for a campfire, hot dogs and s'mores. Somehow after living in Flagstaff for nearly sixteen years, I have never been up there (though I did bike to the Inner Basin one year). It was near perfect timing as far as the colors go. A good number of leaves were still clinging to the trees and the rest made a beautiful golden floor to walk on.

Then on Sunday after naps, we finished up our Apples lesson for school. We had 11 different apples to measure and sample, 10 that we bought at the store and one from our tree. It was a fun and tasty experiment. In the end, Tom and I preferred Fuji and Honeycrisp, Livvy liked the Red Delicious, and Sammy liked Granny Smith and Ambrosia (mostly because it was the biggest apple that we bought).

This week has been fairly uneventful so far. We've done school in the morning, AWANAs on Monday night, and that's about it. Today we went to Sam's club and loaded up on all sorts of crunching, salty and sweet things for me to nibble on throughout the day...warding off morning sickness. At night after dinner I usually end up curled up in a ball on the couch. Last night we plugged into to pass the time and take my mind off of wanting to puke. I think I'm really going to like high-speed internet.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Road Trip: Going Home

No matter how fun and wonderful vacations are, going home is always such a treat. Sunday morning around 10am we loaded up our mini-van once again and headed for home - this time without Oma (she and my dad, who flew in on Fri, drove up to WY to visit a cousin of my mom's). We made excellent time and the kids did really well! We made it home around 11:15pm with three very asleep kiddos.

We made a couple of stops along the way. The first being the side of a mountain/hill that was all sand across from Arches Nat'l Park. The kids had seen it on our way to CO and had wanted to climb it, so we stopped and let them at it. They had so much fun climing up and running/rolling down the red sand. Sammy spent a considerable amount of time rolling/pushing a rock down the hill. He was so proud of himself. Livvy just got absolutely filthy. And Ben just had fun trying to stay upright.

The last fun stop was at Wilson Arch just outside of Moab. It looked like a rock that was just begging to be climbed. So...Tom pulled over, and he and the big kids happily scampered up. Ben was just thrilled to stay at the bottom and dance around.

Road Trip: Estes Park, CO

The morning after we arrived at our cabin I awoke to kids running down the hall yelling, "Oma! Oma! It's snowing!" Sure enough big white fluffy flakes were falling softly to the ground. Oma couldn't be found because she was outside...with some mule deer about 50 feet from our front door. She, as per her norm, got up early, saw the snow and went outside to enjoy it. While she was out there she saw 4 mule deer nibbling on some grass. They came right up to her.

We got the kids dressed in what winter clothes I brought, which wasn't much (I trusted the 30-40% chance of snow) and sent them outside. They were both able to see and even touch the deer...well, Livvy was able to "pet" the mama deer's neck and Sammy got scuffed on the cheek by the mama deer's front ankle - she apparently didn't think he should be that close. After I got both he and I calmed down, Sammy was out the door again, he wanted to pet the baby deer.

Saturday October 10th at 10:30 in the morning was the wedding of Marc Barnwell and Mandy Bricker. It was a wonderful ceremony! Everything came together so nicely and beautifully.

It was a total family affair. I was so honored to be Mandy's maid-of-honor and only bridesmaid. Sammy was a ring bearer, and Livvy was the flower girl. Tom was the "heavy" at the reception, helping things move along smoothly. And Ben...Ben just looked sharp and got a lot of, "Oh, he's such a handsome little guy".
The week before heading up to CO we had been practicing in our hallway how all of us were going to make our way down the aisle. First me, then Sammy, Livvy, and lastly the bride. The deal was if they made it down the aisle, I would give them a tic-tac - just a little incentive. I think the practice paid off. The kids performed their respective duties beautifully...Sammy got a little shy and had the pillow covering his face, but he made it down to me for his treat. Livvy had the sweetest smile on her face as she sprinkled fake fall leaves down the aisle. She had told Mandy months before when Mandy asked her to be her flower girl that she had always wanted to be a flower girl.

It was so much fun to be there and see my best friend getting married. I'm so excited for how God is going to lead them in the future. Marriage is a wonderful adventure.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Road Trip: The Way There

Last Wed at 3:45 in the morning, we (Tom, my mom, and I) snatched the kids from their cozy beds, strapped them into their carseats, and headed for Estes Park, CO for my best friend Mandy's wedding. The plan was that the kids would not even wake up, sleep for the first 3 hours, we'd stopped, have breakfast and be on the road again. Then we would stop half way through the the 11.5+ hour drive, stay at a hotel, swim in a pool, and then finish out the trip the following day. know what they say about plans (not that anything went wrong, I just thought that that sounded like a funny thing to say). Instead of barely blinking an eyelid, the kids, all three of them, woke up. They were so excited to be getting on the road that they were chatty and making all kids of fun awake noises. Thankfully that only lasted for about 30-40 mins and they did go back to sleep...for about 40 mins. They awoke with the sun. Upon seeing the sunrise and the beautiful desert landscape Livvy said, "My eyes are so happy".

Then, somehow through driver or navigator error, we made a wrong turn, heading down instead of up. But hey, the lady at the gas station where we picked up some breakfast burritos said that a lot of people make that I think we'll blame the state for poor road markings. It only cost us about 40 mins in driving time.

After passing through Moab, we decided to stop at Arches Nat'l Park, Utah to let the kids get out and stretch their legs (and the adults too). We didn't actually go into the park, we just parked along the roadside entrance, walked over to the mountain, and started climbling. It was just what we needed. So much fun!

We were making such good time, Fruita, CO by lunchtime, that we decided to push on through and get to Estes Park that day. We thought we'd be there by 4 or 5pm. Well, we stopped for this and that, and eventually made it to YMCA of the Rockies (Mandy's dad so graciously paid for a three-bedroom cabin for us to stay in, and even got us in a day early!) by 8pm that night.

Even though it made for a long day, we were all glad just to get there that day. Sammy might have preferred to have stoppped somewhere sooner, around 5pm Sammy said, "Are we in Colorado yet?"- even though we'd be telling him for the last 4 hrs that we were in CO; "I don't want to live in here."
As far as the drive went, the kids did extremely well. Well, Ben could have been better, but for only being one, he didn't do that bad...and thankfully we had Oma sitting back there with him to keep feeding or entertaining him. We loaded the big kids up with different activities that were introduced at timely intervals that gave them time to play alone, time to play together, time to sit still and do nothing, time to be entertained, etc. It was a beautiful thing.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Poor Ben

This morning after breakfast, Sammy and Ben were chasing each other around the kitchen. Ben fell into one of the kids' stools and smashed his bottom tooth/gums and upper tooth/gums (his bottom left tooth came in when he was 13 months old, and his upper right tooth just popped through last Sun - he was a very cute little pumpkin). There wasn't that much blood and I thought at first that he just got a little cut. And then I saw his didn't look like it was in the same place that it used to be in. I called a pediatric dentist and she saw us immediately. Unfortunately, she had to pull his little bottom tooth and there might be damage to the other teeth still forming. He seems in very good spirits and doesn't appear to be in much pain. I think I'm more shook up than he is; this is our first major medical incident with any of our kids...we haven't even had a sick child needing to go to a dr. in 4 years.

We'll go back in 2-4 weeks to see if there's any damage done to his other bottom front tooth that hasn't popped through yet (there was too much swelling to see today). Pray for Ben and for his little teeth, that there isn't too much permanent damage done.

This is what his little smiling face used to look like:

This is what his little smiling face looks like now:

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sammy's 3rd Birthday

So last Thurs our little Sammy turned three! He had a very fun birthday and birthday weekend. We have a tradition around here that the birthday boy, girl, etc. gets their favorite food for their birthday dinner. Tom gets Red Lobster (which, by the way we all enjoyed on Sunday evening because it was Tom's birthday...I'm so glad he likes Red Lobster), I get Fratelli's pizza (it's so good!), Livvy usually asks for asperagus, corn-on-the-cob, french fries and shrimp (she has expensive taste), and Sammy...well, Sammy loves mac-n-cheese. So I made homemade mac-n-cheese for the first time in my life. He liked it but I don't think he thought it was better than good 'ol Kraft out of the box. Oh well, it was the thought that counts.

That night he got to open his present from Grammie and Pop-pop. A big dump truck! He was so thrilled. Lately he's been hooking up his dump truck to his trike and "towing" it around the house.

That weekend we had our annual Baker family getaway at Ft Tuthill. My parents, our family, and my brother Rob, Beth and their three that's six adults and six kids, not bad odds. My parents rent the big cabin for all of us to stay in and it is lots of fun...especially for the kids. They just love being at the cabin with the cousins, playing in the woods and going on hikes.

Friday night after pizza we had birthday cake. I had Sammy look through a book of different party cakes, dinosaurs, trucks, balls, etc. and he wanted a train cake. His absolute most favorite book is The Little Engine That Could. So, I went to work on making him a train birthday cake that looked, or at least resembled the Little Blue Engine. I'm not sure if I totally accomplished my goal, but I think it turned out really well and, the most important thing, Sammy loved it!

Here's some little snip-it's of Sammy this week: upon putting the fireball in his mouth that was the light on top of the Little Blue Engine, Sammy said, "This is spicy...but I can handle it." "Follow me guys." "But I don't want to." Pray that Sammy makes it to his fourth birthday;).