Church, Family

Church Update (and some pictures, of course)

Just last week, John Facebook live’d (can that even be used as a verb?) his first sermon. For me, a mom with sick kids who has to stay home many Sundays, it was a welcomed addition to my life because I can now watch him instead of another church while I’m at home. Plus, it gives me a way to stay connected to the church, even if I can’t be there in person. Check out and ‘like’ the Horsley Christian Church Facebook page and you’ll be able to watch last week’s sermon, as well as see notifications for any future Facebook live events he may do.

 

The church is really going well out here and John and I are thankful for it every day. Just last week we kind of kicked our hospitality into high gear again after taking about 6 months off after M was born. It’s still difficult with her, as she wakes up multiple times at night, and with the other kids’ sicknesses, John and I are pretty tired, but we love to have people from the church over, and feel like the invitations we’ve been making over the last half a year can finally be realized as we set up actual dates for families to come over.

 

Our weeks here are pretty busy. I mentioned previously how we have events and school going on for the kids, but I failed to mention various church events. Mondays are John’s day off and we hold that day pretty sacred, except for E’s ballet class. It’s definitely a down day for us–this morning John let me sleep in because of M’s late nights, and he was able to relax most of the day to recoup from a very busy week last week. Tuesday nights we either have a couples counseling session with a couple from church (which is what will happen this week), or he has a Session meeting. The thing with their Session meetings is that they’re normally really long, so they meet at 5, eat a meal, and then start their meeting. This month (and 5 other months a year), it’s at our house so we’ll have the other 3 elders over for dinner. Wednesday nights are Bible study nights, so if it’s not being held at our house (next week it will be over here, along with a BBQ dinner for everyone), John will be leaving at around 7 to go lead Bible study. This week starts a new series for him, a series on Ephesians. The format will be new as well–he’ll teach for a 1/2 hour on the passage and then split people up into smaller groups where a designated person will lead that group into an application portion of the passage. Thursdays are sometimes open nights, although this week is the Session dinner/meeting, and Fridays are free, although this Friday John and I are going up to Sydney to see Vivid. Look up Vivid online–it’s an awesome lights display in Sydney that I can’t wait to see! Saturday night, we’re having a family over from church and Sunday, along with a full day of church/lunch, we’re also hosting a women’s dessert night at our place. I’m really excited for this event because the women’s committee at our church is just getting off the ground, so we’d like to get input from the women of our church for what events and ministries they’d like to see us do.

 

Basically, we’re busy. Our nights are filled with church events or hosting dinners, the kids are constantly on cloud 9 with the people who come over, and our fridge is always filled with food and pantry stocked with delicious snacks to serve to others.

 

If our lives were always this busy, I think we’d burn out pretty fast. I love having people over but I definitely need days where we just stay at home and enjoy dinner with just our family. We’ll have busy weeks and then we’ll have some down weeks. This week is a busy week but next week may have less events. The school holidays are coming up in July, which means we get a break from routine and a chance to breath and gear up for another school term full of events. Plus, I’ve been drinking about 3 cups of coffee a day, so my mornings are uber productive when I’m on my caffeine high.

 

In amongst the hosting, our kids continue to have fun around the house. From dress up to fort building to playing with their sister (and movie-watching thrown in there as well), we manage to stay busy.

I bought an Anna hairpiece and Elsa hairpiece for the girls today so they did some posing–and J wanted in on the action so he put on the Anna one for a little bit.

 

Fort-building and playing with packing peanuts. Funny story with the packing peanuts–they were the ones that disintegrate with water so Mo kept putting them in her mouth and they’d get all sticky. Needless to say, she didn’t get to play with those again.

 

Despite being sick, this little baby is getting so smiley and happy all day! She’s started sucking her thumb so that may be why she’s happier. But she’s becoming quite a happy baby and content to even sit in her swing for minutes at a time.

Church, Family, Medical, New Baby, Sickness

Autumn is Ending, Winter is Arriving

I’ve sat down to write a post so many times over the last few weeks, but I just couldn’t bring myself to open this page up. It could be too many things to write about, and when I feel overwhelmed, I tend to shut down. Or it could be that there’s always something else to be doing. Either way, a post is long overdue, so I thought I should bite the bullet (is that phrase still pertinent in Australia where bullets aren’t as prevalent?) and type a post up.

 

The biggest thing that has happened since last writing has been Mom and Dad T’s visit. They were here for 2 weeks and we had a busy but fun time with them. The kids still miss them and ask about them. We love when family visit us because we get to spend such concentrated time with them, but that makes it all the more difficult when they leave to go home–the hole of their absence is felt strongly, especially by the kids.

 

I can’t even list the things we did and saw with Mom and Dad, but I really think they have a good idea of where we live, the sights and sounds of the Illawarra region, as well as a taste of Sydney. The weather was absolutely perfect, such a change from when my parents were here. It was high 60’s, low 70’s every day, and almost every day had bright, sunny skies. We went to the beach a few times, went up the Escarpment to the cute towns, went over to the local hills for some scenic overviews, and, like I mentioned, Sydney. The Sydney trip was the most fun, exhausting trip John and I have taken yet. As much as we love traveling (and we’ve done a lot of it), this was the first trip we did with 4 kids, one being a 3-month-old, and it was something we probably won’t be doing for a long time. Although the kids did really well, just the sheer number of them and their young ages made for a tiring time for John and me. We were thankful for extra helping hands, and we were sad that Dad and Mom experienced many Sydney sights with a crying baby or cranky toddler, but it also gave them a taste of life for us here–never a dull moment, and never a quiet minute. I think they probably enjoyed the silence of their home when they opened the door in Dallas. 🙂

 

Since they left a couple weeks ago, we’ve been getting back into the swing of things and starting up our new normal. Now that M is almost 4 months, we’re starting to get a feel for what life is like with 4 kids and let me tell you, it’s harder than I thought it would be. For all three of our other kids, the transition wasn’t horrible. I did ok with adding a new child. This one though–wow. Threw me for a loop! She has been our hardest transition, but I think it also has to do with the fact that we’ve all been sick, nonstop, for about 6 months. Granted, that comes with the territory (4 kids, 5 and under, 1 in preschool), but it’s also been difficult to deal with a sick newborn/infant for the past month and a half. She STILL has a cough/congestion that’s been going on for forever, but today I just told John she seems to be coughing less. At first I thought her lingering cough was just because she’s a baby and sicknesses will affect her differently, but I think it’s also because this specific coughing bug itself is one that lasts for more than a month, even in adults. John had a cough that lasted more than a month, E had that same cough, and then they gave it to me, and apparently M. So I just finished up my coughing last week, and I’m hopeful she’s on the end of it, but I’m sure she’ll catch something else from her ever-sick siblings. Oh, the childhood years.

 

Other than that, we’re also getting into the swing of things at church. It. Is. Difficult. We have a creche at our church but only for the sermon, so all 4 kids are in with me until the Bible reading. At this stage with a baby who will NOT sleep or sit in her car seat without crying, I’m consistently having to carry her in the Ergo which doesn’t allow for a lot of freedom to take care of my other 3, especially Mo. Thankfully we have a very kind church family who are willing to step in when asked. Mo has spent many services sitting with our friends the Hodges because she’s comfortable with them and it frees me up to deal with my other three. We also always sit by their Australian grandma, Agnes, who watches E and J when I have to get up and deal with M. It’s a lovely way to help me out and include the church family in the raising of covenant children–at least that’s what I tell myself when I feel guilty for having other people watch my kids.

 

John and I are getting more and more involved in the life of the church and community as the months go on, especially now that I’m not pregnant and now that our kids are getting more involved in various groups in the area. E is in a ballet class nearby and I’ve been able to reach out to a couple of the women who have daughters in her class. One of the girls also goes to E’s preschool, so please pray that both E and I will have a witness and boldness to tell both the girls and their moms about our church (although E doesn’t lack boldness–she regularly tells us of those she’s talked to Jesus about, which is great!). We’ll helpfully be having a Christmas in July dinner at our church that will allow for us to invite people to a church event without the pressure of a church service, but I still need the boldness to invite them.

 

I’ve also been really convicted lately of how I lack boldness with those around me. I’m amazed at how Christianity isn’t a part of the conversation here. The weird thing is that Anglicanism is a pretty big thing, as well as Hillsong, so it’s not like there aren’t Christians in the area. The Anglican church where E attends preschool has a service attendance of more than 600 people, and they’re mostly all local, so I know that there are Christians around me. However, I almost never hear anything about Christ or Christianity when talking to people. That’s impacted into how I interact with people, I find. J is in a music class on Tues. mornings and this past Tues. they got to play the xylophone. One activity they were asked to do with their parent was try to play a familiar song, so I plunked out ‘Jesus Loves Me.’ I found myself feeling ashamed that I was playing it with the other kids/adults in the room. How sad is that! The amazing thing is that the teacher started singing at the end and said, “That’s Jesus Loves Me. I know that song.” So it’s not like she discouraged it. But it’s just something in me that recoils at any mention of Christianity. I can’t blame the Australian society though because in the end it comes down to not wanting to be ridiculed or have people think less of me. That makes no sense to me and I’m ashamed to admit it, but it’s true–I don’t want to turn people off. I worry if I say something wrong or say it the wrong way, they’ll hate me and the door will be shut. I realize it’s all about the Spirit and His awakening of the person’s heart, but my sinful heart puts it all on me, thus making me too nervous and closing my mouth.

 

Anyway, that’s a summary of our life here in the last month. Please pray that doors will be opened to present the Gospel to those who have been placed in our lives, and that we’ll have the boldness to invite them to church. Pray also that we’ll be given a respite from sickness, or at least that M will get healthy soon, poor baby.

Church, Family

11 Weeks

M’s been changing over the last couple days, getting bigger/chubbier, interacting more with all of us (not just me), trying to suck her hands (I keep covering them up in mittens so she doesn’t scratch herself), and doing better with going outside. She’s getting used to the Ergo, thankfully, so that’s been our go-to carrier for her in church.

 

This week marks the beginning of Term 2 around here. E started ballet back up today and would have started school tomorrow but it’s Anzac Day (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) here in Australia, a day where we remember the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who lost their lives in various wars, so everything is closed. These last two weeks of holiday have been wonderful, not only because we haven’t had any schedule to worry about, but also because we haven’t gotten sick! And now we’ll start the sicknesses back up again as E brings home some more new Australian germs. Yippee. J also starts his music class next week, so we’ll see how that goes. Sometimes he’s hesitant to go to things without me, but other times he does fine on his own, so I’m hoping he’ll be so excited about various instruments that he won’t notice I’m not there. We’ve been trying to talk to him about it for the last few weeks, getting him psyched up for his very own class, and he doesn’t seem to not want to go, so I’m hoping that’s a sign he’ll be accepting of it and excited to go off on his own new adventure.

 

E has been obsessed with putting things on M’s head. The first picture is a wedding veil, because apparently M is ready to get married. And the second picture is of E’s (clean) underwear–such a stylish hat, and doesn’t M look amused?

 

I just love seeing their relationship grow. M is really starting to smile at Mo, and Mo loves to give her air kisses.

 

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Since having M, we haven’t really had many people over, much to the kids’ chagrin. they LOVE having guests, so when they found out the college/career group was coming over Sunday night for dinner/Bible study, they were THRILLED! For 1.5 hrs beforehand, they were getting their chairs/Bibles ready, excitedly running through the house, and looking out the door, waiting for them to come. They love it when we have people over!

 

 

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I wasn’t here for this picture–John was. They’re both really into weddings right now, as well as pregnancy (due to my most recent pregnancy). Here they are getting married to each other while they’re both pregnant (stuffies in their clothes). We have yet to explain to them that they’ll never be able to marry each other, and that J will never be able to have a baby. 😀 
Family, Medical, Sickness, Uncategorized

In a Haze

We’re still in a haze of sickness here but I’m hoping the end is in sight. John came down with a virus while Mom and Dad were still here. He had a fever at night for a few days, a cough, and congestion. He still has a lingering cough and it’s been almost 3 weeks. E then came down with congestion and night fevers about a week ago. M got it on Saturday, probably from all of the kisses she gets from her sister. Then J and Mo got it Monday, so our house has been full of sick kids for the last week. The scariest sickie has been M. 2 months old is too young to have a cough/congestion because a.) they’re too young for almost all medicine, and b.) they’re too young to deal with the congestion. We’ve had the radio doctor come out on Sunday at 2 am (they have doctors that come to your home if it’s off hours–so nice!) and our normal doctor saw her on Monday. Both said her lungs are clear and there’s no fever, so we’ve been trying to get her through this horrible congestion and spare her from any scary hospital visits. We’ve had a lot of success with lessening her congestion by doing this: chopping up garlic and putting it in olive oil, then placing in on her feet and wrapping in saran wrap. I reapply every 12 hours or so. I’ve found for M that it’s a natural expectorant, so for the last couple days, she’s been vomiting up phlegm. It’s so hard to watch but it’s also the best thing for her. The phlegm has significantly lessened over the last 6 hours and her last feeding was the first one where I heard NO CONGESTION in her nose. Praise the Lord! We’ve also been giving her and the other kids lots of steam baths and putting their faces in the freezer right after. The older three have had epson salt baths with lavender EO in it, as well as hot water/honey drinks before bed. In addition to the garlic on her feet (J and Mo also had some of that at night), M has had suction and saline drops in her nose, and she even had a little bit of colostrum in a bottle a couple days ago. After 4 pretty intense days with her congestion and cough, I think I see her coming out of it. She’s also been really clingy and will only sleep if she’s being held by me, day or night. Needless to say, Mama needs a break. 🙂 So, that’s been our week.

 

Before this sickness wiped all the kids out, we were having a lot of fun around here. The kids were starting to play with M more now that she’s interacting with them, as we can see here with Mo and M “talking.” They’ll soon be roommates, too. When Mom and Dad Terrell visit, the older 3 kids will be in the same room. After they leave, we’re moving M out of our room/bassinet and putting her in the portacrib. We’re moving Mo into E’s bed and moving E into J’s room on the top bunk. Lots of fun changes happening as the kids get older.

 

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This picture comes via E stealing my camera. She did a great job capturing her sister!
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One of the few times she let John hold her without crying! John was pretty proud.

These little sickies can still smile for the camera. In fact, E has a pose here that she was pretty proud of.

 

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On Monday, we needed to get out of the house and go for a drive. We went up to the top of a local mountain (interestingly enough, it’s where the first koala was discovered) and admired the view. This is looking north, towards Sydney. You can’t see Sydney from this view, but the trees are all a part of the Royal National Park.

The weather is getting cooler over here, so autumn is on its way! And when we’re all better, we’ll be able to get outside and enjoy it more. Until then, we’re staying inside, enjoying homemade chicken noodle soup and trying to recover. 😀

Family

Overdue Update

It’s been awhile! We’ve been busy here with my parents coming to visit us for the last two weeks. They just left yesterday morning and we’re still grieving over here. I went outside today with the kids and remembered my dad walking in the driveway with Moriah, holding her hand while she walked on the ledge, or stopping her from riding her bike into the street. When I hung out the laundry in the backyard, I saw my mom doing that same thing a few days ago while the kids played in the water table nearby. Our lawn is freshly mowed because my dad went out during one of the few sunny days this past week and mowed it, Josiah at his side near the end to help.

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We’re sad that they’re gone, and the kids are sad that their playmates aren’t here anymore. Even though my mom and dad aren’t spring chickens anymore, they still seem young and are constantly working around the house or playing with the kids. That’s not to say we didn’t wear them out though! When you’re sitting in a comfortable rocking chair with a sleeping baby, how can you NOT fall asleep!

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It rained for much of their time here which hindered our plans to see some things, but it allowed for a bunch of playtime at home.

 

Dad and John put up insulation in our garage and caulked around the windows to help keep our house a little bit cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Dad found other odd jobs around our place to spruce it up, while Mom constantly did our dishes, laundry, and kept the place tidy. She did some crafts with the kids and both she and Dad would read and read and read to Mo. We even have a new dining room table and chairs because Mom felt sorry for us after using our old set. M and I had various doctor appointments (she turned 6 weeks last week so we had all those appointments to go to) and we had built-in babysitters.

 

We took the kids to an indoor play place one morning while M and I went to the chiro nearby.

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We all went to the children’s museum in town and the kids had a BLAST for hours! Plus, we had 4 adults covering 4 kids–it was so great!

 

The first Sunday they were here, John preached and M was baptized. It was so special having Mom and Dad here for the baptism. They were going to come out for Mo’s in 2015 but Dad got sick on the way so they didn’t make it. This time, however, they traveled half way around the world and watched Mom’s namesake be baptized. It was a special day. Although M cried through much of the ceremony (and before and after), the older two kids did fantastic, and we wrangled Mo enough to get her to stay in our arms for the baptism. M was wearing my baptism gown that Mom had preserved all these years, which made it all the more special. Someone at church took pictures of the event, but we don’t have those yet. We do, however, have individual pictures we took of the kids before church–they turned out well!

 

We also took some family shots and got some cute candid ones too.

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John, E, M, and I all went up to Sydney the first Monday Mom and Dad were here to get some American paperwork completed. E needed a new passport (kids passports need to be renewed every 5 years, and hers is expiring this year) and M needed U.S. citizen birth abroad, Social Security, and passport paperwork completed. We spent basically all day up there from the train ride up and back and the 2 hour appointment/lunch while Mom and Dad watched J and Mo here at home.

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We had to go to the Lindt Cafe while there.

 

We went up the escarpment (the ridge nearby our town) and visited Bowral, a small tourist town. On the way back we gave Mom and Dad an authentic meat pie experience when we stopped at Robertson’s Pie Shop. We brought them to Symbio so they could see koalas, kangaroos, and other Australian animals up close. On the way down we drove along the coast so they could see the Wollongong area in all its beauty. It was a clear, sun-filled day–perfect for a drive along the coast!

 

The last Tuesday they were here, John and I (and M because she refuses to take a bottle) brought Mom and Dad up to Sydney, the only time they got to see the iconic city. We were sad we didn’t go up there once more but we were able to drive over the Harbour Bridge (Dad requested it and we weren’t going to do it, but we got lost and ended up driving over it during rush hour) and see the Opera House in daylight. We took a water taxi over to Carmen, which took place in the Botanic Gardens nearby. It was a GORGEOUS night for it and you could see the Opera House and Harbour Bridge behind the opera. They even had fireworks go off during the performance. Although we ended up getting home past midnight, it was worth it! If we had our choice, we would have spent more time in Sydney showing them a few more sights, but with the weather being what it was, we just didn’t have the chance.

 

Wednesday was their last day here so Mom and I went out for coffee and lunch at a local coffee house while the men watched the 4 kids. Dad got a chance to read more books and Mom got a chance to hold M a lot, as I wanted to give her as many opportunities to hold her as possible (and I had to take advantage of the extra set of hands).

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M is a pretty fussy baby. I’m finding out more and more foods I can’t have, and if I’m strict on my diet, she does well. However, there are still many moments when she just has to cry because I don’t have enough hands to hold her and get stuff done. With Mom and Dad here, however, she never had to cry without being held. Don’t get me wrong–she cried! A lot. But she didn’t cry on her own–she always had someone comforting her.

 

So, that’s where we’re at. It was a hard day yesterday and today but we’re trying to get back into a routine again. Thankfully the weather has been great yesterday, today, and tomorrow, so it’s making the transition easier because they can go outside and ride bikes, etc. The rain starts up again on Sunday, so we will once again be homebound.

 

We love houseguests and if anyone wants to visit us, we have a whole room for you to stay in and very eager children to entertain you, as well as a minivan with extra seats to drive you around in. 🙂

Family, New Baby

Happy 1 Month Birthday!

M has had a great month…she’s gaining weight well and thriving. I’m learning she has a system like her brother and sister closest to her–I’ve had to cut out dairy from my diet to help her reflux. She also inherited her dad’s tongue tie, for which she got hers cut last week. Every day I have to stretch her tongue 4-6 times which is so hard to do, mainly because she screams bloody murder for the 5 min. it takes to do it. She also has very sensitive skin–she’s had a diaper rash almost from day one and had some yeast infection for a couple weeks. We’re finally on the way out of the yeast infection, but she still has a slight diaper rash, despite no-diaper time, warm water/cloth instead of wipes, baths every night, using only coconut oil to heal the skin, and giving her (and me) probiotics to get her gut health healthy. Hopefully she’ll eventually heal from all her sicknesses and ailments.

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She’s a good baby. She LOVES being held, which means when she is put down, she cries and cries and cries. I’ve learned she’ll eventually settle, but we have to put up with the crying for about 20 min. before she’ll either tire herself out and fall asleep, or she’ll tire herself out and just sit and stare. The kids are getting used to the crying, too. She enjoys the sound of the vacuum, so often when she starts to cry, J goes to the vacuum and turns it on. He’ll also plug his ears. E will go to her and try to calm her down by rocking her in the swing and singing to her. And Mo copes by rocking her for a little bit and then either walking away or crying. She’s the most sensitive one to M’s crying–in the car, when M cries and cries and cries, Mo is the one who will cry as well, making for a joyful car ride for the rest of us, while the older two kids put up with it quite well. It’s almost like they’ve been trained. 🙂

 

M is a very strong baby. She holds her head up well and has since almost day one, but in her anger and crying, she can pretty much crawl off her blankets when she’s put on her tummy on the ground. Because she has to go bare bottom for long stretches of time to heal her diaper rash, I don’t always have time to hold her, so I sometimes put her on the ground on a towel. She doesn’t like that, so she’ll scream and push herself forward with her legs. Her head is still heavy so that stays on the ground, but her legs compensate and she has, in the past, pushed herself about a foot forward in her angry cries.

 

She’s also been an amazing sleeper. For all the crying she does when she’s put down, I can’t complain because 1.) it gives me an “excuse” to hold her a lot and get my newborn fix in while I still can, and 2.) she may be fussy when she’s up, but she sleeps for long stretches. I’m really bad with fully waking up when feeding her at night so I don’t always know when she wakes up to eat, but she normally goes to sleep anywhere from 9-11 pm and will sleep until 8-9am, waking up only once, sometimes twice, to eat. She does cluster feed from about 7-9/11 pm at night, which I think allows her to sleep so long at night, and then sometimes she’ll wake up at 6-7 am for a quick meal before going back down until 9 am. Either way, she’s an awesome night sleeper and, after eating, will normally go right back to bed. There are nights where she doesn’t follow that pattern and I wake up like a zombie the next morning, but such is life.

 

I still love this newborn stage and now that 2 out of the 3 older siblings are healthy, they’re able to enjoy her more as well. When she starts staying up for longer periods of time and stops crying when put down, she’s going to be an absolute favorite with them all. They constantly ask if they can hold her or kiss her, and E is singing made-up songs to her while J pats her back to comfort her. They’re big fans of her and love being protective older siblings.

 

She has crazy, stick-up hair like her siblings, only she’s the only one with blond hair and a pretty decent mohawk. She has E’s hairline, which she inherited from John, so it’s pretty far back but it’s slowly getting lower–while she’s gaining hair in the front, she’s losing it on the sides. She LOVES to pull it when she’s angry, as well as scratch her face, so she’s almost constantly wearing mittens to protect herself.

 

In other news, the other kids are doing well. E went back to school this week and loved it, as usual. She loves to draw and comes home with sheets of artwork to give to us. This past week John told me such an endearing story. Her teacher was talking to her while she was painting and E asked her how to paint Jesus. Then she asked the teacher, “Do you believe in Jesus?” The teacher said, “Yes, I do. I go to this church (the preschool is in Dapto Anglican Church).” E said, “Good, that means you’ll go to heaven someday.” We’ve been encouraging her to tell her friends at school about Jesus because that’s the only way they can get to heaven someday. She then told me that some of her schoolmates don’t believe in Jesus, so they’re going to hell. I wonder how that went over with them when she told them. Oh, the honesty of children.

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J’s vocabulary is really growing and it’s fun to see him interacting a lot more with E. They normally have quiet time together in his room, which is more like ‘play for 3 hours together but try not to wake up your other siblings.’ They’ve really gotten close to each other with those times together and I can see a friendship building between them. He’s sad when she goes to school on Tues. and Wed. but he also loves being here without her because he gets more time from me to play with him.

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M is getting cuter by the day. I just took out the 18-24 month clothes from E, so she has a whole new-to-her wardrobe. One skirt that we discovered was this one…she LOVES it and asks to wear it all the time. I wanted to take it off for dinner last night so she wouldn’t get it dirty, but she started crying, so I kept it on. She also loves to dance in it, which is what she’s doing here.

 

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We’ve started eating oatmeal for breakfast every morning, and Mo is a BIG fan. Normally either John or I will feed her, but when we’re too busy, E has taken it upon herself to do it. She loves it, Mo loves it, and we love it because it’s one less thing we have to do in the morning. THIS is why we had 4 children–they do things for each other and make our lives easier. 😉 They also are playing with each other more and more, and letting Mo be included on the fun. Here they are eating  a supper of tennis balls and wooden food. Normally Mo will take their things from them, but sometimes she’ll be content with what they’ve chosen to share with her. They all sat so nicely and ate–for about 5 min.

Family, New Baby, Sickness

3 Weeks Old-Can We Be Healthy, Please?!

I’m updating during the kids’ nap/quiet time because I’ve been editing a book at night and have to get it done this week–I’m so much more productive with editing when I can sit down for a few quiet hours at night instead of having to get up throughout naps and quiet noisy kids down. We’ll see how long the blog post is until I have to put the laptop away and deal with crazy children again.

 

Our week has been rough, but that’s pretty much been the story of the last 3 weeks since M came on the scene. I feel like we’ve been given a good taste of what life will be like with 4 littles, and it started right from the get-go. From colds to stomach bugs to hand/foot/mouth disease, John and I are asking ourselves what else we can possibly get? And then there was the mysterious illness Mo had a month ago, but thankfully that seems to have passed. The kids had the stomach bug right when M was born, so they had to stay away from her when we came home from the hospital. Then they all got colds, including John, so again, M and I were quarantined. And then, this past Saturday, we discovered the older 3 had hand/foot/mouth disease. Sadly we didn’t realize until after the fever was gone (but isn’t that always the case with kids? They get random fevers and you never know why–until the fever’s gone and you realized THAT was when they were most contagious) and they had random rashes all over. We STILL didn’t know it was hand/foot/mouth until E started to complain about her mouth hurting. I thought it was a canker sore, but then more appeared Saturday, and then it dawned on me. Of COURSE! Hand/foot/mouth disease. And Mo had had a fever, and J has a rash (although his rash was minimal), so all the pieces fit. E didn’t have a lot of mouth sores so she only complained for a couple days and now it’s almost over, including her rash, which is clearing up. Mo basically didn’t complain about anything at all so her h/f/m was a minimal case, but J, although he barely had a rash, got a TON of sores in his mouth and he’s still complaining about eating 3 days after it began. His mouth was swollen and he was miserable, poor guy. But even then, it wasn’t a bad case for the 3 of them, and so far the adults and M have been spared. I say so far because the incubation period is 4-6 days, so we could still get it. John’s been dealing with a cold and cough for the last week or two as well, so it’s been pretty much M and me who are healthy. Again, we’ll see how long that lasts.

 

Throughout my 4 years of having little kids, I’ve become more and more convinced that older people whose kids have been grown for awhile have selective memory. This is across the board in America and Australia, so I’m assuming it’s this way in other cultures as well. When moms of little kids or kids who are still in school hear about other families’ sicknesses, they say first, “Oh no, let’s stay away from them so we don’t get it!” and then they say, “Oh, that poor family! I know how they feel because we’ve been there!” Especially sending kids to school in the early years, kids just get sick all. the. time. It’s a natural part of life. They build immunities, they get sick again, they build more immunities, they get sick again, rinse and repeat for 10 years. And then the kids get older and healthier because their bodies are better able to fight the diseases. And then parents forget what their lives were like when their kids were little. And then the comments to families with littles begin: “Why are your kids so sick? My kids never got that sick. What are you feeding them/not feeding them/doing to them/not doing to them?” Oh, the comments I’ve heard. I try to remember that these are comments coming from either those who have no kids and don’t understand, or from parents whose kids are old and aren’t dealing with these issues anymore.

 

It’s the same with comments about how my kids act in church. “My kids were never that disobedient in church. They always sat quietly and were never disruptive.” I’m sure, because most children are perfectly trained children from the get-go. Like I said, these are comments I’ve gotten everywhere I’ve gone, no matter the culture or country. I think many moms of little can sympathize with me, too. The guilt I feel when I get these comments…ugh. I’m learning to cope with them better. Is there truth in what they’re saying? If so, I’ll try to listen to it. But there’s also a little (or a lot) of forgetfulness about this stage of their lives. Babies and toddlers have a way of wiping moms’ memories so that, when looking back, you remember the good old days instead of the days where you didn’t go to church for weeks on end because the kids were sick. Or the days where kids missed school AGAIN because of hand/foot/mouth. That’s why I’m thankful for this blog. When I start to forget what these years are like, I can look back and remember my life currently, with all joys and all sorrows, the good and the bad.

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I wore M for the first time last week in the Ergo and she LOVED it! That’s how she’s going to be worn in church so it’s a good thing she enjoys it.

This is J pre-h/f/m discovery, but he was definitely contagious here. I didn’t get a picture of him kissing her, but he was giving her a lot of kisses. If M doesn’t get it, it shows the power of breastmilk and my antibodies, I tell you what! And here’s J and Mo being cute–dancing and sharing books.

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You think they’re related? M on the left, E on the right–same age, same hairline/crazy hair, same eyes, different hair color.
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This is how I edit when I have a baby who doesn’t want to be put down–she fits on my lap and I reach past her to get my work done.
Family, New Baby

2 Weeks Old

Tomorrow we start our new “normal” routine. E has preschool, John has work, and I’ll be home with the other three kids. John asked me tonight how we’re going to work tomorrow morning–he’s been getting up with the older 3 kids and getting them breakfast for the last 2 weeks while I stayed in bed with M (due to sleepless nights). However, that’s all going to change when John has to be up and at ’em in the morning. Thankfully he’ll be dropping E off by 9, so at least I won’t have to be dressed. But coffee will now become my friend again as I deal with what every mom of a newborn deals with–sleepless nights and full days with young kids.

 

Last week was a fun week. Near the end of the week, John took advantage of the kids’ sickness-free days and his time off from work to take us different places. We went to the local park and took pictures of the kids at the lake. They got to ride their bikes and scooters, which made their day! We had some warm days last week as well, so the kids swam in our pool and enjoyed the (hopefully) last really warm days of summer. We also had a crazy thunderstorm with golf ball size hail. The rain lasted for hours which gave the kids (and John) a chance to run outside in the puddles.

 

 

John took the kids to church on Sunday while I stayed home with M. It was the first time I’ve been home alone with just one child for multiple hours at a time in who knows how long. The house was so quiet, it stayed clean for hours, and I was able to focus my attention on just one baby. I was reminded of what life was like when it was just E. I was busy, to be sure, but I wish I had cherished that time with her more. Recovering from childbirth when you only have one baby to look after is so different than recovering from childbirth with subsequent babies.

 

I was hanging the laundry on the line on Saturday and realized that even though M is small, she has significantly added to our laundry pile. I also had the “Hokey cats! We have 4 kids!” epiphany. 4 kids. And this little girl, the latest addition to our family, is 2 weeks old. I still cherish this newborn phase, even with less sleep and more crying. I love that I can put her down on the bed and she won’t move. I love that she finds comfort in me holding her. I love that feeding her is so easy. I love that she sleeps most of the day and night. I just love having a newborn. When I was pregnant, there wasn’t a moment where I thought, “I will really miss this.” However, almost every day with M I’ve thought, “I will really miss this phase.” I am definitely a fan of the newborn/infant phase and will miss it the most when she’s older. I do love independent children too, don’t get me wrong. Knowing E can pick out her own clothes and J can make his own bed is freeing. But I love newborn cuddles, I love the newborn smell, I cherish newborn sounds. I’ve been able to spend quality time with both Mo and M as infants because John’s been able to take off work both times, and I’ve loved it.

 

We’re going to miss Daddy being home with us during the day–I think the kids are going to go through major withdrawal without him around to play with. And I’m going to go through withdrawal now that I have to prepare all the meals and clean up everything again. I love co-parenting and am sad that I have to go back to single parenting during the day again. However, I also enjoy having food on the table and a roof over our heads, so it’s a good thing John has a job. Although I think John will miss spending all his time with us, I think he’ll also be glad to get back to a routine, one where he can be alone and work instead of referee young kids all day. He’s been such a huge help the last couple weeks though, and I am sad to see his paternity leave end.

Family, New Baby

M’s First Week

M is officially more than a week old now. Her first week flew by, mainly because everyone except her was sick on at least one day last week. As much as I would have loved to enjoy her first week at home, we ended up barely surviving. But survive we did, and now that we’re into her second week home, we’re getting more in the swing of things. Our pattern is going to be interrupted when John gets back to work, though. That starts next Tuesday.

On Tuesday, E was given a stuffed dog in preschool to bring home and take with her to various activities throughout the week. With each new activity the dog goes to, we’re supposed to take pictures and paste them in a book that came with the dog. The two boys who had the book before her went to all these fun places–swim lessons, zoos, etc. E’s week is going to be a lot less exciting. John and I made sure to take a picture of the dog with M to show why E doesn’t have a very adventure-filled week…the new baby puts a crimp in her adventures. So she’s gotten pictures of the dog and Grandma and Papa T skyping with us, the dog and our pool outside, the dog and E playing with paper dolls…you know, all the exciting things in life. 🙂

M’s doing well. Her days are filled with sleeping, eating, filling her diaper, sleeping some more, and occasional waking periods to placate her siblings, who are so eager to talk to her and play with her. E constantly gives her kisses and wants to hold her, and J is the same way–he can’t wait to hold her, unless she has just spit up–then he won’t touch her. Mo is basically unphased by her, except when Daddy holds her, and then she gets angry and jealous. Today was her first moment where she actually smiled and interacted with M more than normal. It was sweet and gave me some hope that she would some day have a good relationship with her sister.

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Here’s a comparison shot of the four kids. Top left: E, Top right: J, Bottom left: Mo, Bottom Right: M. We think M and E look the most similar.

 

Church, Crunchy Living, Family, Medical, New Baby, Uncategorized

A New Beginning

Hello all! You may be wondering why I’m starting a new blog with all the same information found on my other blog. I know blogs are public (unless you decide to make it private), but over time, I realized I wanted this blog in order to update family and friends in America about our lives here in Australia. Although I appreciate people knowing about what we’re doing here, I also wanted our lives to be semi-private…hence a new blog.

So, there you go. I’ll hopefully still be updating this blog weekly, or however often I have time to update it, and I’ll probably be letting my other blog lie dormant for awhile. Enjoy a glimpse into our lives an ocean away.

 

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