More and more I've been finding my littlest one, Joshua, so content just watching his big brothers while they're playing outside. I can tell that he wants to be a part of what they're doing so badly. I take him out to crawl around for bits of time here and there but he just puts everything in his mouth so he can't be out there for too too long. Soon enough he'll be running around the yard...but until then, he gets a front row seat to see what's unfolding on the front lawn. For me, I just love watching him watch them. So precious.
So as all of you now know, my best friend and hubby, Steve and our oldest child Isaac, share a birthday. This year was Steve's 30th so of course we had to throw him a big party. And since Isaac is still small and birthdays are important to him, he had to have a party as well. So as you can see, I had some work to do.
On the big day, we had our normal birthday routine of streamers upon waking, cinnamon rolls and the opening of presents.
Everyone had a great time especially Joshua. In just a few short weeks it'll be his first birthday!!
That night we had a few neighbors come over for cake and ice cream. The kids ran around in the backyard and played in the playroom inside. It was a really simple birthday but everyone had fun. Isaac wanted a Thomas cake so I attempted the train cake. It turned out all right. Good thing I have many years to practice this cake decorating thing before they really get old enough to care!!
So that was Isaac's birthday.
Steve's 30th Party was a lot more hoopla. Since I was already very busy that week with everything else (hence my last post) I decided to try and keep things as simple as possible. The evening started out with a friendly game of Ultimate Frisbee at the school and then the hungry players came back to our house for a BBQ. We had friends come from far away like Fresno and San Luis Obispo, and then we had family, a few friends from church and neighbors attend. It truly was a special time of honoring my amazing husband. And we feasted in his honor! Steve's Dad and brother gave him a toast to being 30 and that was wonderful. And then one of his longtime best friends from Cal Poly gave him the sweetest, most meaningful tribute. It was really special and meant a lot to Steve. Thanks Andy! Of course there was tons of food, tons of cake and tons of fun. A few highlights include a bounce house borrowed from our neighbors to provide fun for the 20+ kids who attended, the toasts, catching up with friends who live far away and seeing my husband be so blessed by his friends and family. It was a truly blessed time. After all of the festivities died down, the guys planted themselves in the back for some guy time around the chimenia. A great end to a great evening. I also just had to mention that I couldn't have pulled the night off without all of the help given to me by my dear friends. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law helped with food. My parents and in-laws helped police my children that day so that I could work. My dear friend Monica helped keep my watermelons cold in her fridge and picked up the cake. And then Steph and her little posse helped pull off all of the last minute details when they arrived an hour before the party. Seriously, without all of that help, I would've fallen over and just died. Thank you! I have great friends and family! Steph, was my right-hand woman all night and most of the evening we had babies strapped to our backs!! I love the ERGO! And Steph, you're a trooper! Love you! And there's the lady who brought my wonderful husband into the world! She even let him have his birthday on her anniversary (although I think she was just glad he was out because he was over two weeks late!!) Thanks Mom for raising such a great son. Now our family gets to enjoy and benefit from all of the hard work you and Dad sowed into him. I really am grateful! I pray we can be so diligent with our sons.
The birthday season in our family will come to a close at the end of September but for now it's died-down quite a bit. I had a ton of fun but am grateful to get a few weeks off until our little Joshy turns 1.
It has been quite a month here at the Dauphin household. August is always crazy for us because we have so many birthdays and anniversaries floating around but this year was particularly busy. I haven't been posting all that often because I've literally been running from one event to the next but have been having a fabulous time doing so though. Here are a few highlights to catch you all up on where we've been.
August 2nd- Auntie Sarah's birthday and family party August 6-8th- Church camping trip at Plaskett Creek August 9th- Mom and Dad Georgatos' 35th Wedding Anniversary Celebration and Dinner August 10th- Steve's first day back to work full-time for meetings August 12th- Steve's 30th Birthday and Isaac's 4th Birthday; Isaac's neighborhood birthday party; Grandma and Grandpa Dauphin's 37th Anniversary August 14th- Season Opener Forty-Niner Game against the Broncos; Steve and I went with my brother and his wife, Theodora August 15th- Steve's 30th Birthday Party August 17th- Steve's first day of school August 18th- My Dad's birthday and mini party at the park August 22nd- My 10 year high school reunion
So there you have it. I've got all sorts of things to post about but I've just been too plain tired to do it. I'll catch up this week. Things are starting to slow down now as we head into the fall. Autumn is my FAVORITE time of year so I can't wait for it to come. August you were full of fun but September, I'm ready for a bit of Indian Summer (just a bit), the start of football season here at the school, sweaters at night, homemade soup, the anticipation of the holidays and to welcoming routine back into our lives. After this last month, bring it on.
My precious firstborn son turned four last week. I'll post more about his actual birthday later but I just can't believe that he's four. Not that four is sooo old or anything but, his birth marked such a life change for us and I can't believe that it's been four years since then.
Here is a glimpse of our life right before Isaac was born. Some of you who are close to us already know this story. Some of you don't. I don't tell you this story to try and say how lucky we are but how faithful, gracious and merciful God is. Every year on Isaac's birthday (and Steve's as well; they share a birthday) I remember God's amazing faithfulness to our family.
Isaac blowing out his candles this year
In the fall of 2004 Steve had just graduated with his degree in Mathematics from Cal Poly and he began working at our church in the youth group as the youth intern. He was challenged to work harder than he ever had in his life and was considering how God wanted to use that experience. When we found out we were pregnant in December, we really started praying about direction for our family because Steve's internship was up in August which is when Isaac was due. We planned to stay in San Luis Obispo and did absolutely everything we could to stay there. June hit and we were in the home stretch but Steve still didn't have a job (although he had been looking diligently for months) and I was 8 months pregnant. Every opportunity that we thought would work out didn't at the last minute. We were anxious, but we just kept waiting and searching. Steve actively pursued different jobs and kept getting "no." We were discouraged.
Then in July, both of our old cars were totaled within 48 hours of each other. One happened on the Cuesta Grade (a very dangerous road) at midnight and it was a hit and run. Miraculously none of us were hurt. Remember I was nearly 8 months pregnant. Truthfully, we all should've been killed in that accident. We believe the other driver was drunk because he sideswiped us going over 80 mph and sped off. The other accident occured on our way to pick up our rental car; someone was careless and smashed the driver's side in. Now what were we going to do without cars? What was God doing? Didn't He know that our son was going to be born any time? And Steve still didn't have a job.
Steve interviewed at his old high school and we were coming back from that interview when we were in the first accident. We thought the job was a long shot. Steve didn't have ANY teaching experience yet, although he went into the Math major with the idea that he'd be a Math teacher because he loves Math and he loves kids. His degree is in Math but they wanted a Physics and Math teacher. My husband is incredibly brilliant so it's not that he couldn't teach Physics it's just not his specialty like Math is. Truthfully, teaching was the worst option to us because it meant we had to move and we did not want to move whatsoever. But when they offered him the job and we looked at the fact that I was 36 weeks pregnant and it was our only option, we decided we better take it.
We started packing feverishly and we tied up loose ends at our jobs. My doctor told me that I wasn't to pack my house but what else was I supposed to do? Two weeks before we moved, someone from our church gave us their Volvo station wagon. They handed the deed over to us and it was ours free and clear. We got the car just in time. Our rental car was due back the next day. I joked with Steve that the baby could come on his birthday, which was the weekend we were supposed to move. I'll never joke like that again.
We went in for my last doctor's appointment in SLO on the Thursday before we were supposed to move. Everything was fine but Isaac's heartbeat was up very high. She quickly checked his position and discovered that in the last week he had flipped to footling breech. I was 38 weeks and he had flipped. This isn't common. He had been head down for weeks and then he flipped right at the end. The doctor felt like it was best to get him out since he probably wouldn't turn back that late and we were moving. She didn't want me to go into labor and have him be footling breech which is the most dangerous type of breech because the umbilical cord can prolapse. She wanted him out the next day...the next day was Steve's birthday.
So, the next morning, on the day we were supposed to move and on Steve's 26th birthday, we got up early and headed to the hospital where Isaac was born via c-section. Our friends and family moved our stuff up to our new home and three days later, we got in the car with our newborn and moved. We named our baby Isaac because it means laughter. After all of the craziness (and I just gave you the highlights) when we found out that Isaac had turned breech, we simply laughed. There was nothing else to do but laugh and acknowledge that we knew God would provide for us yet again.
My apartment the night before Isaac was born
Looking back, although our move here was very hard, we are SO blessed to be here. We have three boys now and a wonderful community surrounding us. We couldn't have foreseen all that God was going to provide but He was so good. I'll never forget being wheeled out of the hospital to my new volvo (new to me) to make the drive up to this unknown place with a brand new baby boy in my arms. So many changes. So much to learn. So many opportunities for God to show up. And He did in mighty ways. Praise Him.
As for Isaac now, he's a joy. I'll always look at him and remember all that God brought us through and taught us, just because Isaac was on his way. Isaac's birth will always be a milestone in our marriage and in our lives as a time that God stretched us and strengthened us. May we never forget. He's our own little Ebenezer.
"Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer saying, 'Thus far has the Lord helped us.'" 1 Samuel 7:12
We survived. We took all of the boys camping and we lived to tell about it. In fact, we thought it was so fun that we want to do it again. Can you believe it?! We spent two days camping at Plaskett Creek twenty or thirty miles south of Big Sur and it was beautiful. Both Steve and I were a bit nervous about taking the kids camping since, as you know, we have three very small boys all under age four but, we were surprisingly pleased with how it turned out. Since it was our church's annual campout, we had wonderful company and there was no shortage of fun things to do. Caleb managed to get himself covered head to toe in dirt within the first ten minutes. This picture doesn't even do it justice. He seriously looked like a soldier camouflaged for deep battle in the jungle. I'd already wiped off most of the dirt at this point. He is a magnet for these things. We started off the trip with a caravan drive down with our good friends and neighbors. After setting up camp, the boys ran around until dinner time. There were so many places to explore and visit. My friend Allison and I were novice campers (meaning we hadn't taken our families camping yet) and so we both lamented all of the things we forgot to bring once we got there. Luckily, what she forgot, I brought and vice versa. You've got to start somewhere huh! At least we brought firewood and matches. This lovely couple came up to us as we were leaving and asked if they could have some matches since they forgot theirs. However, I couldn't be too judgmental being as though I forgot to bring any sort of bowl and also a huge pot. I had this little tiny pot to boil water in. It was pretty sad. Needless to say, however, we had a great time. It was so fun to sit around the campfire and talk. We learned even more about our friends as they told us stories about their life before children and we had some good laughs.
We also had such a fun time getting to know the people from our church more. It always seems hard to talk much to people after church because the kids are running in opposite directions and we usually have to leave on the earlier side since both of our younger two take naps. So it was just nice to be able to chat with people over dinner or while the children played.
These are the after pictures. I think that everyone was quite pleased with how things went.
I haven't forgotten. I've just been busy reporting on other random acts of fun in our household. Isaac and Caleb playing at the river with Grandma and Grandpa Dauphin.
My littlest one just started crawling and getting into everything. It starts now with him. Good ole Ryle is reminding me again to pick up my bootstraps and get down and dirty in the throes of training. It's worth it. God calls me to it. Sometimes I feel so weary in it but it is good and as Ryle exhorts, much depends upon me and my diligence. God help me!
I hope the following words are encouraging, challenging and fun all rolled into one. And since it's been awhile, here's to J.C. Ryle on a Saturday.
Section 3: Train your children with an abiding persuasion on your mind that much depends upon you.
"Early habits (if I may so speak) are everything with us, under God. We are made what we are by training. Our character takes the form of that mold into which our first years are cast."
"He [God] gives your children a mind that will receive impressions like moist clay. He gives them a disposition at the starting-point of life to believe what you tell them, and to take for granted what you advise them, and to trust your word rather than a stranger's. He gives you, in short, a golden opportunity of doing them good. See that the opportunity be not neglected, and thrown away. Once let slip, it is gone for ever."
"But I know also that God says expressly, 'Train up a child in the way he should go,' and that He never laid a command on a man which He would not give man grace to perform. And I know, too, that our duty is not to stand still and dispute, to go forward and obey. It is just in the going forward that God will meet us. The path of obedience is the way in which He gives the blessing."
I am Nikki Dauphin, wife to Steve since July 2002, and mom to four boys and one little girl. Currently my husband is pursuing his PhD in mathematics, so as you can imagine, with five kids in tow, there are many adventures to behold! I'm learning how to raise a brood of boys and one precious princess, be a homemaker, how to be a lovely wife to my handsome and dashing husband and how to love those around me. Stop and stay awhile. Family stories, recipes, musings on life and lessons I'm learning are all a part of this blog. I love the life I've been given and thank God for His many blessings.
Steve-My amazing, fix-it, brilliant, math-loving, puzzle-solving husband is a Math PhD student pursuing his graduate degree through Colorado State University. He is also a Year Round Graduate Intern for Sandia National Labs researching and working on projects related to national security and preparing for his dissertation. We met at Cal Poly, SLO and were married in 2002. Seriously, he's my best friend.
Isaac-Laughter. My precious firstborn. Blue-eyed, blondie, logical, lefty. Particular, orderly, courageous, funny, and intelligent. Sees the world in patterns, numbers, colors and shapes. My first son. My joy.
Caleb-Brave. My mischevious secondborn. Brown-haired, coal-eyed, soldier. Needs explanations about how the world works. "Mathy", inquisitive, architectural and mechanical. Silly, passionate, tough, long-suffering and smart. My second son. My love.
Joshua-Saved by the Lord. My irreplaceable thirdborn. Bubbly, gregarious, social and playful. Loves to be surrounded by his family. Cuddly, kissable, chubby and charming. Life of the party, full of joy, overflowing with humor and laughter. My third son. My light.
Elliana-The Lord Has Heard. My long-awaited daughter. Petite, dark-eyed, beauty. Strong, coordinated, cheeky and spunky. Sharp as a tack and a flitting socialite. Loved by every member of her family. My fourth born. My only daughter. My treasure.
Nathan-God Has Given. My fourth son. Yet, it never gets old. My youngest little gift. Gentle, strong, sweet, angelic. Blonde and light-eyed. Littlest of them all but full of life and love. My fifth born. My littlest man. God's given. My gift.
Hot Providence (too bad it's out of print) America's Test Kitchen Anything Williams Sonoma King Arthur Flour