After 5 years of being a stay-at-home mom, I found the wonder of mothering slowly starting to get crowded out by the mundane feeling. I realized our world seems to surround people with the negative, and complaining about blessings seems totally acceptable. So I decided to fight against that "normalcy" and focus only on the positive. I look back to my first year as a mom when everything was new and keeping house was fun and I aim to have that attitude again. This blog is my outlet to showcase the daily miracles that surround me in my blessed life as a stay-at-home mom so that I will never forget the wonder of it all.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Oh home school, you are my nemesis.  You are the opposite of everything I wanted you to be.  Fun, easy, natural learning?  Hmmmmmm.....not sure how that happens when littles need to be motivated to learn NEAT handwriting.  Days straight out of Little House on the Prairie?  Not unless Ma's house was trashed most days and children ran stomping through the house because the yard is too small to run in.  Learning happening naturally and inspired by nature?  I wish. 

One day this blog will not be full of post about how we are aimlessly wandering, trying to find our niche in home schooling.  One day I will feel like I wake up and know where to lead my kids that day, and the goals that should be accomplished.  One day it will not feel like a chore.  One day it will not give me anxiety at night that I literally have to pray away.  One day my friends (and blog readers) will be free from having to hear about my lack of direction. 
 One day my kids will not have a mom who is crabby when it comes to home school.  One day they'll have a mom who is patient to the point of long suffering if needed.  One day I won't have to apologize to them at the end of our day.  One day it will all meld, and we'll all get it. 
Until then, we will end hard days curled up in spaces of comfort.....snuggled down in love.....reading together as the trials of the day wash away.  And then we will go to our own little nooks, with all our special things, and read some more....warm and snug.


I wrote this post a while back, while on my forced blog break.  I was excited to come back here today and see that blogger gave up again on trying to charge me for posting pics.  Since I wrote this post, I've been reading Large Family Logistics which I'm hoping will help me with some of the frustrations I mentioned above.  I wasn't sure if I should post this old entry, but decided to.  Some blogs are always so happy go lucky.  But I'm determined to be honest in this space.  My honesty in our home schooling journey has led me to reach out and receive help from some amazing moms.  I hope my honesty here helps other moms feel "normal"......whatever that means, right?  :)
I am HAPPY to be back in this space!!! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Forced Break?

Well, Blogger is telling me that my photo storage is full and that I'll now need to pay to add more pictures to my blog.  It did this a year ago.  I never paid for additional storage.  I just stopped blogging for about a month and when I came back, it let me upload more pics.  I have blog friends who have been blogging for years and have never had this problem. 


 I've been thinking about taking a small break to focus on home school and figuring out life with 4 kiddos.  Guess God knew I needed a forced break.  Until I can figure out the photo problem, I'll be off for a bit.  I'll miss posting pics here just for myself.  Its such a nice way to record our life for us personally.   Suggestions on how to fix this are welcome!  Until then...............

Saturday, November 17, 2012


The night before Arrow was born, I had my sister run over literally just long enough to snap a few pics of us as a family of five.  I guess something in me knew I MUST get those pics done that night (as I was stubborn about it when Zac wasn't up for it, and when the light was fading). 
 The next morning I woke up in labor. 
When Arrow was four days old, a friend from High School photographed our family. 
So here's the NEW US! 
 A family of SIX!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Babymoon of Sorts

I had never heard of a "Babymoon" when I was pregnant with Logan, Felicity, and Kian.  But after hearing about taking time to just stay home and soak up your newborn, I wanted to fully embrace the idea this time around.  Easy meals, accepting help from others, laying low, no rushing back into the normal routine that will become daily once again all too soon, etc.  I was looking forward to it!  One problem......I didn't anticipate the fact that 7 and 5 year olds don't really think "laying low" is much fun.  They didn't want to miss church, or their mid week club meeting, or time with friends, or the football game.  And so, we had a babymoon of where the kids DID get to do all those things they love, but also one where we stayed home a good amount, and when we did, this mama rested LOTS with her baby boy.

Monday, Zac goes back to work.  I have not cooked a meal since I was 31 weeks pregnant and went on bed rest.  I have not schooled the kids at all the whole month of October.  And as I mentioned above, I rested....a lot!  My amazing husband has set a standard I'm sure I won't be able to match.  But come Monday, I'm going to try.  Its back to school for us, and back to cooking and cleaning and laundry and errands and daily life for this Mama....for the first time in a LONG time.  This will be the first week in a year and a half where Zac goes back to work LOCALLY and comes home to a capable wife every evening.  I'm looking forward to it, and am anxious about it too.  I'm sure it will take us some time to get into a new routine.

But back to our "babymoon".  Here's a few glimpses of what the last almost 3 weeks held for us.

We've taken turns holding Arrow....constantly.

We've watched him sleep...
on the couch,
in his bouncy chair,
in the swing,
in the garden,
on each other, that's all he does (other than nursing).
Such a good, easy baby!

We took him to the pumpkin patch and picked out a tiny pumpkin for our "tiny" boy.

We visited at Papa's a few times, where Zac and the kids harvested walnuts, Zac fixed some lights for Papa......and Arrow slept, of course, giving Papa ample snuggles.

We all gathered for Arrow's firsts. 
You would have thought his cord falling off was a huge event the way the kids acted.  And that meant his first bath!  It was the highlight of the day!  And the first day he smiled (yesterday), oh, we were all thrilled!  We all took turns bragging to each other when WE got our first Arrow grin. 
So often, I can get overwhelmed by the kids wanting to be "right there" for everything.  But when I just take a minute to include them and see the moment through their joy, it is so wonderful.  I'm working on having patience. We had to create some boundaries to make sure we all get our fill of Arrow (without having others grabbing at him), and that's good, but I'm also working on doing a lot with 3 "baby vultures" in tow.  I love how much they love their baby and I SO want to encourage their constant interest and thrill in him. 
(oh, and no worries....he's not that dirty...the water is grey because we gave him an oatmeal bath)
And I've pathetically crammed this poor child into his Mama made outfits, even if just for a picture.  Yes, the outfit above was only worn long enough to get this shot.  I had to shake him into his pants.  But at least I have the picture!  I'm happy with that.  This big boy needs more Mama mades.  We'll see if there's time in the new schedule.
Wish me luck for Monday!
We will all miss Zac and I know for sure I'm going to miss my morning snuggles with Arrow while sipping on hot coffee that was delivered to me in bed by my sweet man.
Zac has made this babymoon amazing.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012



Happy Halloween
from 3 super heros and the "tiny" bear (in his 3-6 month size costume) they fiercely protect.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Birth of Arrow Matthias

Disclaimer - I'm a bit of a birth junkie.  I love the thought of women trusting their bodies, and being supported through birth.  With this post, I'm putting myself out there, specifically in sharing some very intimate photos that were captured by our wonderful doula, during my labor and delivery of Arrow.  I figure I can't be a true "birth junkie" unless I am open to sharing my experience, through words and pictures, with other women.  All the photos are modest, but very "honest", for lack of better words.  If you think you may not deal well with birth photos, you've officially been warned that there are MANY in this post.  :)

When I think back on Arrow's birth, it feels like a I can float through the memory.  It begins with a small contraction that woke me at 6 a.m.  Zac was just about to walk out the door for work and I didn't mention the contraction because I wasn't sure it had even been one myself.  I figured I'd just see what happened.  As I heard his truck drive off, I had a second contraction.  Still not wanting to call attention to anything too soon, I waited a bit more.  A few contractions later I called him home.  He had made it to town before turning around.  At that point, I knew Arrow was on his way, even though the contractions were very small.  But with how fast I labor and deliver, I also knew I needed to act.  While I waited for Zac to get home, I gathered up a few last minute things, woke the kids up, and brushed their hair.  By the time Zac got back home, I was just starting to need to breath with the contractions.  I popped my ear buds in, put on my labor and delivery play list, and we left the house about 7 a.m.  It was then that I'd say actual labor began.  The hour drive to the hospital was beautiful.  The sun was just up, making for a pink lined sky against our dry yellow hills.  I kept my ear buds in and worked with the still easy but picking up contractions.  By the time we closed in on the hospital, I was wanting to get out of the car and work with the contractions more physically.  Good timing.

As I walked into the hospital, I noticed my whole support group had made it there just as we did.  My mom and sister took the kids to the cafeteria for a quick bite while Zac, our doula Amy, and I went to get settled.  A wonderful nurse came in and asked if I'd like to labor in what I was wearing.  I'd planned on it and was happy to just nod my head instead of asking permission to please not wear a gown.  I was 4 cm upon arrival and tried not to let that get me down since that's what I had been for two weeks.  We got settled in our room and labor picked up.  I had been taking my ear buds out here and there in between contractions, but once settled in our room, I shoved them in and didn't remove them until Arrow was born.  Instinctively I asked Zac to hold me up through contractions.  He'd stand behind me and let me hang from his arms.  My doula got me a ball to sit on in between contractions.  That is how we spent the next hour and a half....sweating all over each other, working together, me focusing on the baby, and Zac focusing on holding me up through it all.

I kept my voice low by matching the bass tones in the music that was flooding my head.  Not many songs stood out.  I can't tell you specifically which songs played during that hour and a half, save a few....but I can tell you they were my saving grace.  When I felt transition coming on and wanted to "give up and take a nap,"  a song came on about Christ's sacrifice for us and I told myself that if Christ could die for me, surely I could get through this pain for my son. 

Transition came and I started pushing involuntarily at the end of my contractions.  I tried to hide what I was doing at first because I know my body does this, and during Kian's birth, the nurse told me not to do it.  But my doula and my midwife encouraged me to give over to my body and do what it was asking of me.  And so I did, and I literally felt Arrow's head lower into my pelvic....a miraculous feeling I hope I never forget.  A bit later my midwife said, "Jenny, why don't you get up onto the bed and push him out?"  She had not checked me for progress so I asked her how she knew it was time.  I was so nervous about getting out of the good groove that Zac and I had going.  My midwife said she knew because she was listening to me and could hear that it was just time.  How amazing to feel so focused on and listened to during that time!

Sure enough, she was right, it was time.  But I wasn't fully dilated.  She told me to push anyways, if that's what my body was doing.  My bag of water was about to burst and she knew how I labored....knew that once my bag broke I'd be complete.  So she encouraged me to push against the bag if  that's what I wanted to do.  A few contractions later, though, she asked to break it and I was happy to let her!  Once broken, I was complete and Arrow was on his way into the world.  I geared myself up for the horrible "ring of fire" that I remembered from Kian's birth, my only other med free delivery.  But amazingly, Arrow didn't hurt that bad.  I can only assume its because I was in more control, and was in "the zone" way more this time around.  I was even able to know what was going on around me.  Poor Logan was having a hard time watching the pushing stage, and I remember having enough control to try and console him, while pushing.  Once Arrow's head was out, our midwife told Zac to help with the rest.  At 9:49 a.m., not even 3 hours after early labor started, our son was born into his Daddy's hands, and placed into my arms.

Arrow's cord was alowed to stop pulsing before being cut by his Daddy.  And Arrow was left in my arms for a good long while.  No one picked him up to try to make him cry.  No one was in a rush to get stats.  No one was in a rush to clean him up.  And so we laid there together, just soaking each other up.  Eventually the nurse did ask to weigh him as they told me he looked rather large and if he was over a certain weight, they would want to make sure his blood sugars were OK. 

Zac picked him up and took him to the scale.  I couldn't see the scale but heard a gasp from everyone in the room at once.  Zac turned around and told me he was 10 pounds.  I told him to "shut up" (aren't I nice....all in play) and tell me what he really was. Again, Zac exclaimed "10 pounds"!  I didn't believe him until everyone stepped aside and let me see the scale for myself.

After his quick weight check, Arrow was given back to me.  We spent time together, skin to skin.  And as he nursed for the first time, he reached up and took hold of my necklace...a gift Zac got me last year to represent our two lost babes. 

After family went home, we were left alone to just bond with our sweet boy.  Again, no one pushed us to get the rest of his stats, or to bathe him.  The next evening, we were home, all together, a family of 6!


Arrow's birth, for me, was so empowering and amazing.  I have always wanted a birth like this.  After three kids, I was starting to think that I was possibly envisioning an impractical outcome.  Maybe a med free, fast birth was never going to feel controlled.  I thank God for Arrow's beautiful entrance into this world and I feel lucky to be able to say med free, fast labors CAN be controlled, beautiful, and rewarding.

All these beautiful birth pictures were taken by our wonderful doula and friend, Amy Boggs of Inktree photography.  Please visit her sites here and here.  Obviously I had a hard time keeping the photos in this post to a minimum.  Heck, I'm surprised I didn't post all 121 of them!  :)