Friday, June 25, 2010

She's here!!

Elliana Grace Dauphin

The Lord Has Heard

7 lbs, 4 oz 19 inches

Born at 8:20 am

We woke up bright and early and headed into the hospital. I immediately recognized the nurse that had attended Caleb's birth and who I LOVED. She basically got me through labor. I had written her a thank you note and so when she saw my name, she remembered me and asked to help prep my c-section. What a blessing from the Lord! I felt at ease almost at once.

After all of the prep work was done, I walked down to the OR carrying my own IV and hopped up to the table to get my spinal. That went much better this time as well. Elliana was born 20 minutes later. She immediately started crying and I asked Steve to make sure she was a girl. She was. But a few minutes later, the NICU nurse brought her close to my face let me see her for a brief second and then whisked her away. Evidently, she was working too hard to breathe and so they needed to get her stabilized.

I was sewn back up and headed to our room to recover. Elliana still was in the NICU and I began to understand that she would be there for quite some time. The nurses there and doctor were fairly certain she just had too much fluid in her lungs (and because she was a c-section, she hadn't had the benefit of it getting squeezed out while going through the birth canal). But they couldn't be certain. After a chest x-ray, they determined she did have fluid and started antibiotics to insure quick action if she was developing a pneumonia. Evidently, a pneumonia and too much fluid in the lungs from birth, look exactly the same on a chest x-ray. She started off with 50% oxygen saturation.

Around 1:30 pm the nurses wheeled my entire hospital bed into the NICU so I could hold my little girl for the first time. It was a wonderful moment. She and I stayed skin-to-skin for about an hour. By 3:30 they had weaned her off of all of the oxygen and she was breathing calmly on her own. She's been doing really well ever since. We still cannot have her stay with us until at the earliest, tomorrow morning but she is really doing so much better. And tonight I got her to latch on for the first time all day! She actually ate pretty decently on one side. I was so encouraged. It seems that she is pulling through and getting better as the hours go on.

I'm doing all right. I'm fairly comfortable and am thankful for the great care of the nurses and hospital staff. God is so faithful to carry us regardless the circumstances. I'm greatly encouraged by that fact and feel able to rest in His comfort and grace.

So...the name Elliana has been an absolute favorite of ours for over four years; we just kept having boys!! And the meaning seemed so appropriate. The Lord Has Heard. He has heard and has given us a daughter. We couldn't be more blessed.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Last Day...What Remains

Well everything is ready. The boys have been dropped off and we had some dinner by ourselves out. All I have to do tonight is fold clothes and throw some toiletries in the hospital bag. The house is clean and the fridge has been cleared out. It's been a good but long day. I'm 40 weeks, 1 day and ready to go.

So, I've been thinking of the one thing to leave you all with for awhile now. What keeps coming to mind is this verse from 1 Corinthians 13:13. "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love; but the greatest of these is love." The greatest of all three, is love. And what is love?

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

I love this girl already. Our whole family does. She is already so much a part of us that even though I haven't met her yet, I still love her wholeheartedly. After Joshua's birth I needed faith. Faith to know that God does what He does because He's God. Faith to trust in Him without seeing reasons why. Faith to believe He knew what was best for me and our family. Then God taught me to hope for the future and to hope in His promise to me that He would carry me through every circumstance. And then, when we found out we were expecting again, He showed me the fullness of His love and reminded me that love is the greatest of all three. f

So tonight, I think of love. I'm nervous. In fact, to be honest, even though it's my third time having a c-section, I'm petrified. But I know what remains and its love. Love is what drives me the distance. And I can't wait to lay my eyes on our little girl.

The last day..."But the greatest of these is love."

PS: I'll be off-line for a bit but hope to post pictures as soon as I can.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Two Days and Counting...

As far as weeks go, I hit 40 today and that always feels kinda strange. Nothing unusual happening. I tend to go late (8 days with Caleb and 3 with Joshua) so I'm not expecting any fireworks. Contractions have even backed off a bit and probably wouldn't pick up again until the weekend if I was going for a vaginal birth. So, I'm sitting pretty...well, large and definitely not pretty in that sense, but you know what I mean. Ha ha!

I'm just trying to tie up a few loose ends, get into the lab for one last blood test and get everyone ready to head in different directions for five days without us. Most everything is done. I think it'll all be all right. Left on today's agenda is making cookies with the boys and having a fun night with them. Tonight is our last night all together as a family of five. Tomorrow we'll take them to see Toy Story 3 and then tomorrow night they'll be at Grandma's.

It all seems too strange...too structured almost. But that's the way it is this time and I need to be thankful. I had my 40 week check-up yesterday and all looked fine. Yet, I still walked out of there in tears. I actually think I've left each 40 week appointment in tears for some reason or another from having made no "progress" regardless of contractions or just being plain tired. Hormones are in high gear and the anticipation of the birth is weighing heavily on my mind creating the perfect recipe for tears.

But yesterday it was for different reasons. I have known the whole time that I will have a c-section this time. I've never known that with any of the boys. But there was a part of me that thought maybe it wouldn't happen. Maybe I'd somehow be able to avoid it. Maybe I'd go into labor and labor quickly like with Caleb and the baby would be born safely without any problems. I tried not to think about it but it's always been there. But going in yesterday and talking with the doctor about all of the pre-op stuff, the absolute necessity of me heading in to the hospital if I have any signs of labor and how labor for me isn't safe, confirmed that the c-section will indeed be happening this Friday morning and that I can't change it.

I made it to the car without crying but was able to let it all out one last time. To give a final surrender, a final good-bye to my hopes for a normal birth this time. Again, I've always known and I'm very thankful. But I just needed to let go one last time. I am a woman and it's natural for me to want things to go normally. Yet that's just not what God has for me this time. A quick phone call to my husband helped a ton too. He just knows me better than anyone and knows how to comfort me while still pointing my feelings in the right direction. I thank God for that.

So for today, in honor of having two days left, I bring you the two ironies of this pregnancy and the two truths that I hold onto in spite of those ironies. Sorry...not as light as some of the past posts, but it's just what God is teaching me in these last days.

Two Ironies and Two Truths

Irony 1: This baby has not gone breech. Having breech babies is what got me my first c-section. I didn't know it at the time (it wasn't discovered until this pregnancy) but I actually have a birth defect that has given me a misshapen uterus. Basically the area of my uterus is a bit smaller than everyone else's so at the end, my babies flip around to try and find the best way to grow and get bigger. All three boys did it at one time or another. Isaac was just discovered breech too late and I had no idea what was going on because it was my first baby. The other two boys turned around 34 weeks and exercises got them to turn back. That's how I was able to try for vaginal births with them.

But I've never had a baby stay head down and it has been a huge source of stress and frustration for me in the last weeks of my pregnancies. Yet, this sweet little girl has been head down since 28 weeks and hasn't budged. I know how to tell now what position the baby is in and she has seriously been head-down the whole time. This is so ironic to me because she really is the only one that I've had NO chance of a vaginal birth with. With the other three, that option was always on the table. I don't know why she hasn't turned. It could be that my uterus is a bit more stretched out since it's my fourth and she could also be a bit smaller than her brothers. I don't know. But for whatever reason, she's been in the perfect position the whole time.

This is ironic to me. I'm thankful because her being head-down has allowed me to carry her all the way to term like I wanted to. But it's ironic...very ironic. Yet, this truth echoes in my head about that irony.

Truth #1: God knew me before I was even born and knew how He was fashioning me. There are no mistakes and God does as He pleases. He has also knit this little girl inside of me and has caused her to be in the position that she's in.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:13-14

So, I can rejoice in that knowledge and be thankful that He knows more than me. If I try and make sense of it, I'm reminded of what God said to Job.

"Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements-- surely you know!" Job 38:2-5

Basically, God is saying to Job that he doesn't know what He's talking about. In essence, where were you when I made the world huh?! You think you know so much but you don't! Your human wisdom is nothing to my understanding.

Very humbling.

Irony 2: I've always wanted a girl but not a planned c-section. Without beating a dead horse too much, I think it's been clear that I haven't thoroughly enjoyed having c-sections. I've tried to present my feelings about these matters in a real way but also one in a respectful/godly way as really, having a c-section is not the worst thing in the world at all. And last time, having a c-section saved both mine and Joshua's life. However, my woman's heart has never really wanted one. But I've always longed to have a daughter. So the irony is that God chose to give me a girl when He knew I'd have to go in for a scheduled section. As ironic as it is, truly it is God's kindness to me.

Truth #2: Contentment with our lot. For a long time I placed my happiness on the mode of birth I'd get. If only I could have things happen this way then I'd be happy. These feelings, although real, are not honoring to God and do not portray any thankfulness for God even giving me children in the first place. It's okay to have desires but, these things will not satisfy.

Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live. Isaiah 55:1-3

God has given me many blessings and it's not because I've earned them. He just blesses in His kindness. He didn't ever have to open my womb again. And He didn't have to give me a daughter ever but He chose to this time. But God gives and God takes. He does as He pleases. That's why our circumstances cannot dictate our happiness or our trust in God. For only God can truly fill us.

So I thank Him for His kindness to me and look forward with great anticipation to Friday.

Only two days left.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Three Days Left

I know I've focused a lot on my excitement to have a girl but I really, truly have adored having three boys. In fact, it's not something that I've been upset about at all. I will admit that I've definitely wanted to have a girl sometime but having three boys all close together has truly been wonderful for me. I also have to say good-bye to my status as an all boy mom and it will be a change for me. I'm not sad about the change but it will be different. So, in honor of having three days to go and for all you boy moms out there, I bring you my top 3 reasons why having boys is a HUGE blessing!

Side note: these are generalizations and I'm not saying little girls can't be like this too but boys generally are this way and I love them for it!

My Top 3 Reasons Boys Are a Blessing

1. Boys are simple. Now when I say simple, I mean simple vs. complicated not necessarily easy. Lord knows my boys aren't easy all the time at all!! But, boys don't get their feelings wrapped up in things nearly as much as girls do. Therefore, it's quite easy to know how to make them feel happy and how to bless them. You need to get them outside and let them run around. When my boys start running laps inside, I know we MUST go out. And you need to feed them--well. Sprinkle in some wrestling, sports and frog hunting and you can call it a day. They're just not that difficult to figure out. I love that about having boys.

2. Boys are tough. Some of their toughness comes from training but a lot of it is innate which develops over time and that makes them really fun. When my boys are brave, even when they're afraid, it makes my heart proud. It's really exciting to watch them learn and try new things. And it's really great to see them grow in courage. Boys have to be taught to go and conquer the world and care for a family one day. And it's so fun to watch them learn this process through learning to be tough even from a young, young age.

3. Boys LOVE their Mommy. This one is my favorite. All three of my boys are definitely very into their Dad and I would say that they gravitate much more to him (and it should be this way) but...they treat me like a queen. It's just a different kind of love for me. They play with my hair and tell me I look "beautiful today." They pick me flowers and make me cards. Ummmm...I love that. They treat me gently and they're always ready to shower me with kisses. I know that someday their affection in this way will change and be focused on a wife (and praise God for that!!) but for now, I'll drink in all of their slimy, dirty kisses because I can't help but loving their sweetness.

I've loved having boys and I'll miss our all boy family a bit when the little girl arrives.

But not too, too much.

Three days left to go.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Four Questions

There are a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head about making the transition to four children. But these are my top four. So far, my easiest transition has been to three. Not sure how going to four is going to go. Any moms out there with four kids, your thoughts would be much appreciated.

Four Questions about Transitioning to Four Kids

1. How in the world am I going to nurse with three boys running around? I've definitely thought that with the addition of each child but my third little boy is pretty active so I've really had this one on my mind. I've always read to the kids or played with them while nursing but Joshua is hard-pressed to sit for much time at all. We've been working on it for awhile because it's very important for children to learn to sit, but he still really struggles. And babies nurse SO much in the beginning so, I'm really curious how that's all going to work out. I'll just have to learn as I go.

2. How do I stay consistent with discipline and training? I feel like it's been hard for me to be consistent with three. At least much harder than with one or even two. I've really had to work at being on top of my littlest one. I'm wondering how to add another one and still do a good job in this area. I wish I was an octopus and had 8 arms. That would really help. But since I don't, I'll have to rely on sheer determination and a healthy dose of perseverance. God's strength will have to be my foundation for sure.

3. How do I give each child the attention they need? I think every mom asks herself this question regardless of how many children are in the house. It's a normal thing. However, I know I'm about ready to be divided into even smaller pieces and so I'm going to have to work harder at making sure everyone is getting their needs met. I don't know how this will all play out but I do know that I'm made for this. As a woman, God has literally made me to do this job. So in light of that knowledge, I can have my confidence placed in Him and how He's made me and not in my own skills. I'm sure I'll come up short often but, that's when God's grace will have to cover me and continue to teach me how to give more and more of myself. Because in essence, that's really what will be happening for the most part...I'll just continue to learn how to give more of my life away. And really, that's okay. I can't think of anything else I'd rather be giving my life to anyway.

4. How do I keep my husband my first priority? If I'm thinking about how I'm going to meet all of my children's needs, it definitely begs the question that I'm thinking even more about still being the wife that Steve needs first. It's so easy to deal with the immediate (the children) and forget that he's there as well, working hard and pouring himself into all of us. I've learned a few things as we've had the last couple that I believe have helped him still feel like he's the most important one in my life (because he definitely is). But I've got to keep those thoughts at the forefront of my mind. I don't know how to pull this off and I'm sure it'll be a transition. But another thing I do know that is so encouraging, is that this transition will just be a season and soon enough, we'll have our evenings back, our room back to ourselves and after a long day, we'll be able to unwind together. And those are the things that keep us going.

So these are a few questions that I'm sure will work themselves out--I'm just not quite sure how. But I know God will care for us and guide us. He always has and always will.

Only four days left.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Top 5 Comments

With the load that I'm carrying and the little army I'm sporting around with me, I definitely get some comments while out. Like I've said before...this doesn't bother me. In fact, it mostly makes me laugh and generally people are really kind. But just for fun, I thought I'd post the top five comments that I've received repeatedly over the last few months in honor of only having five days left.

Top 5 Comments

1. Are they all yours? This is surprisingly something that I get asked quite a bit. I guess it makes some logical sense in the day of daycare and blended families but, every time I'm asked this I just laugh. Of course they're all mine. I know people don't mean to come across weird but, it does imply some funny things when someone asks that question and really, I don't know these people who are talking to me. But like I said, it always makes me laugh pretty well, awkward or not.

2. You must have your hands full. This one is pretty typical and I know some moms get annoyed by this one. But seriously, if I really think about how I must look to other people, I can see why someone would make that comment to me. Yes, my hands are full. But so is my heart, my home and my life. It's not necessarily bad to have your hands full. In fact, for me, it keeps me out of trouble. Busyness is a great cure for bad behavior that creeps in when one is too idle. Check out Titus 2:5. So I always smile really big and just say, "Yes...but they're great kids and I really like them."

3. You're done after this one...right? This one is hilarious and partly comes from where I live. I live in one of the most liberal areas of California and there are a lot of population overcrowding groupies here. They love to hate people like me. And they don't mind making it clear to me that I need to do my part and help curb population growth. The problem I see with these people is that they're not going to have anyone to carry on their beliefs to the next generation because they're not having any children or are having very little children. While people like us, who think children are a blessing, are having tons of them. Hmmmm....enough said.

4. They're all so close together. I like this one because I usually end up explaining the ages of my children and that yes, they are fairly close together. We haven't actually planned it that way but it's just what has happened. As a result of my response, sometimes I get really funny and interesting stories from other people. One lady proceeded to tell me her whole pregnancy history and ovulation patterns. Ovulation patterns!! I don't feel the need to give strangers that much information about myself but sometimes people just want to share their experiences. At times people are unkind with this one (giving me a look like, "Didn't your mother teach you how this all works? Ummm...yes, I do know and I would think my swollen belly would communicate that fact.) But most of the time, people are just curious why on earth we would decide to have children all close together like we have. I have to admit, sometimes we ask ourselves that question so, it's not unreasonable. I'm not always sure myself but I do know that we're getting the baby stuff all over with at one time and that later they'll all be close friends. So, this comment always makes for a lively conversation.

5. Please tell me, is this one a girl? This one is my absolute favorite and it's the one I get most often. In fact, probably five times more than any of the others right now. And the greatest part is that when I tell them that yes, it is a girl, people that I don't know whatsoever literally cheer, laugh, and almost reach out and hug me they're so happy for me. It is so, so fun. It's like my "situation" makes their day. Some tell me that they have three boys and should've gone for a fourth. Others tell me about some relative/friend that is just like me. Others look so relieved for me. And some just grin and giggle all silly like they just won the lottery or something. No matter what, it's like I have my own cheering section right in the middle of Safeway. It's just plain fun. I'm glad that us having a girl can bring some joy to others because it certainly makes me smile.

Only five days left.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

6 Days Left

Like I said before, I'm going on a mini-vacation next weekend and have been getting my bags packed. So in honor of six days left, I bring you...

My Top 6 Things to Bring to the Hospital

1. Good reading material. I'm going to be staying for a few days so, I'll definitely need some good stuff to keep me busy.

2. Baby blanket I made for the little girl. Now all of you sewers out there, don't laugh. This is very far from perfect. I used scrap pieces and I didn't try very hard to get things perfect. But it's really the first thing I've ever made and it was fun to do.

3. Going home outfit. Isaac picked this out for his sister last month at Old Navy. Caleb helped too but this is what Isaac wanted to get her. It's not newborn size (0-3 mths) but I think I can stitch up the straps and maybe it'll fit her. The shoes came from someone at my shower. Absolutely ADORABLE! I've never cared that much about a going-home outfit to take pictures in but this time it was kind of fun to plan something.

4. All of our technology stuff from the cell phone we just recently acquired to Steve's new laptop for grad school. His Geometry class runs through the delivery of the baby until the next week so he'll be needing a computer to do his stuff while we're in the hospital. And of course, we need our camera and video camera. At times like this, I am thankful for technology.

5. I have used this nursing pillow with every.single.child. It is a lifesaver for me in the first couple of weeks. Steve always makes me tell other people what its name is because he thinks it is just oh so funny. is called My Breast Friend and really, after all of the use I've gotten out of it, it really is like a best friend to me.

6. Assuming all goes well, I am planning to nurse this one just like my other three. So, all the nursing stuff from the cover to the soothies and lanolin are a must-have. Even though it's the fourth time, it'll still hurt some and all of that stuff really comes in handy.

Six days left. Less than a week now.

Friday, June 18, 2010

7 Things Left to Do

I've really knocked many things off my To Do List over these last weeks but there are still a few things left and some can't be done until the last moment. So since we have seven days left, I thought I'd share the last seven things I have left to do.

7 Things Left to Do

1. One more round of laundry. Does it ever end?

2. One more round of ironing. Even though I caught up this last weekend, Steve still has to wear shirts to work so now I am just ironing what he's worn during the week. Much better than my huge pile that leered at me every time I opened our closet.

3. One more round of cleaning. I usually clean on Fridays and because I have a relatively small abode, I can usually get everything fairly clean in just about two hours. The boys even help me vacuum and dust. So I cleaned today and next week I'll do some maintenance cleaning bit by bit just to make sure we're square for awhile. It could be some time before I get to clean the whole house again.

4. Install car seat. We've just got to dig it out of storage and put it in the car. Not nearly the fiasco it has been in the past. At least we know how to get an infant seat in now.

5. Plant my basil. We've got a little garden in the back that has been planted for awhile. Some things are growing well and some are not. But my basil was going to go in a pot and I just haven't done it yet. Not sure if that will get done or not.

6. Finish her blanket and burp rags. I think I need one more night of sewing to get her stuff done. I've already made many burp rags and have only a few more to go. I also have a satin edging to put on her blanket but I have no idea how to do the corners-nicely that is. I'm going to ask one of my sewing buddies to give me some direction and then I'll try and finish that up. It's not perfect whatsoever, but it was a labor of love and I learned a lot doing it.

7. Relax, wait and put my feet up. Ha ha ha. Much easier said than done. Somehow I have a feeling I'll be trying to get the others done but I'm not sure I'll be able to accomplish this one much. But I'll definitely try.

This countdown is really helping the days fly by. Usually what gets me through to the end is not knowing when the baby is going to come and all of the excitement that comes with waiting. Since I don't have the benefit of that this time, it's been fun to countdown this way.

Seven more days to go.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

8 Favorite Things

I have so much to be thankful for. And in fact, I'm really trying to cherish these last days with my family as a family of five. So in honor of Day 8, you can have a taste of 8 of my favorite things right now.

1. One of my favorite things is that these sleepyheads greet me every morning. Seeing their tousled hair and sleepy eyes starts my day off right...I love walking into their room every morning to greet them (unless it's an usually early morning-like before 6 am but that doesn't happen too often).

2. Thursday morning donuts is one of my favorite things right now. Steve meets his Dad for coffee and donuts quite early every Thursday and Grandpa always sends home a donut for each of the boys. I love that I don't have to worry about breakfast and everyone else benefits from the arrangement. And even though I tell Steve to please NOT pick-up a donut for me, I do get a few bites off of the boys' so that makes me smile too.

3. One of my favorite things is seeing how excited the two older boys are about having a baby sister. They really like feeling her move and kick. This is the first pregnancy that I've been able to involve the kids in. Before, they just weren't old enough to understand. Now, it's a mystery and wonder to them and I love watching that. As for Josh, well he just likes pulling my shirt up, patting my belly and saying "baby". That's about the extent of it for him. But it's still cute though.

4. All right...I'm not going to lie. One of my favorite things is getting a Minute Maid Light Lemonade from Safeway when I have to go to the grocery store. It doesn't have any caffeine, has very few calories and just tastes refreshing. Good thing I don't live that close to the store or I'd be tempted to go more often. Right now, I probably get one once a week and it always feels like such a splurge.

5. So even though everyone's kinda been a little crazy this week, Isaac and Caleb have been saying some pretty funny things. So their comments lately have been one of my favorite things. Here are a few examples:
Last night before drifting off to sleep, Caleb informed me that in the morning, if there were any bad guys or pirates, he would save me. He also reminded me that he had 100 big guns and 100 little guns and they had a lot of "stuff" (namely "blood pokes") in them. And that as a back-up, he had swords too. Wow...I'm feeling pretty safe. Thanks buddy.
I mentioned to Isaac that he was almost five years old and was SO big. Very matter-of-factly he said to me, "Yeah mom. Everyday I just keep eating and eating and eating and so that makes me grow bigger and bigger and bigger. If I keep eating so much, I'll be as big as Dad." That one made me laugh out loud. They've been making me laugh a lot lately.

6. One thing I'm very, very thankful for is the outpouring of love our family has experienced over the last few weeks. I'm not going to remember everything (so please forgive me) but here are some highlights and things people have done to bless us. We really have wonderful friends and family.
-One of my friends has been helping me catch up on my ironing by taking four shirts for me a week for the past month. I didn't want to let her do it but she insisted. I'm happy to say that I finally caught up this weekend. She's also helped me change the sheets on my boys' bunk bed because there's NO way I can take them on and off now, especially off the very top.
-A few friends have offered/brought meals to me in the last week which has been a HUGE lifesaver for me (remember the hotdogs and mac n cheese?)
-One friend called me last night to just encourage me and tell me that she loves me and that I'm doing great. Such a blessing. It meant so much to me.
-My Mom always comes weekly to see the boys but has been extra attentive and helpful with all sorts of things. Both of my parents helped me two weeks ago too when Steve went out of town. I love you guys!!
-My in-laws have also been a huge help! They watched the boys for our last date. And when I had to take Joshua in to get his leg x-rayed, Steve's mom met me there, helped me with the kids and then took Josh to get his x-ray since I couldn't do it (pregnancy). I usually don't mind taking the kids to the doctor but this appointment was soooo long and I'm soooo large/slow it was very nice having her there! Thanks Grandma!
-One of my friends brought me a dozen roses today, just because. And they're so beautiful.
-Seriously, I could go on...people have been blessing us left and right. Thanks everyone!!

7. One of my favorite things is that it's summer. And this is pretty much the scene at our house. The boys go outside after nap/quiet time and "water" the garden. They usually get so wet that we strip them down and they come to dinner in their underwear. Then, they wrestle with Dad which always involves hilarious costumes and weapons for all three of them. Most nights they get a bath and then Steve reads The Chronicles of Narnia before they drift off to sleep. Can't beat that summer schedule. Watching it all is one of my favorite things.

8. But really, most of all, my favorite thing is this amazing man. He is such a gentle rock, a servant leader and a tender tower of strength. He works SO hard to keep us all well provided for and has been balancing teaching summer school, an intensive Geometry grad-school class, a very pregnant wife and three small boys. He does it with class, patience, gentleness, strength and tenacity. Eight years in, I love him more now than ever.

These are a few of my favorite things.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

9 Days to go

9 Reasons I Know I'm at the End

1. I woke up from a short nap yesterday and couldn't shake the feeling that I just wanted to cry. Did I have any reason? No! And I had a difficult time getting out of my funk. Hormones are reaching peak levels...caution...beware. I'm trying to keep a lid on things but the pressure is building. This is not an excuse for bad behavior but I can definitely feel that I'm not my normal self.

2. I've had a perpetual eye twitch for a few weeks now. The only other time I had such an eye twitch was in the weeks leading up to my wedding. It's a combination of subconscious stress and fatigue. Yeah, definitely getting close.

3. None of my shirts fit. Nothing more to really say about that.

4. My patience with the children is wearing a bit thin. Part of it is probably my own attitude which can translate to the boys, but it seems to me that everyone is having a tough week. Joshua still isn't walking whatsoever (sprained his leg/ankle this last weekend wrestling with Dad and brothers) so that means that when we go anywhere I have to carry him around. And the older two have been skirmisching (is that even a word?) more than usual. Maybe all of us know change is around the corner.

5. I've still got a few little things left on my To Do List but I have absolutely no desire to complete them. I'll be forcing myself to do them. A week ago the nesting urge was still strong. Now...I'd rather sleep.

6. As far as cooking dinner goes, we've sadly had to resort to things like hot dogs, grilled cheese, mac n' cheese and pancakes. These things aren't bad at all sometimes; however, I've been using them a little more than I'd like to. And to top it all off, I'm hungry but nothing really sounds good to eat.

7. Except, I have been craving the largest Diet Coke known to man and chocolate chip cookie dough. When you go so many months without, it just sounds so wonderful at the end. Over the weekend, I had some Diet Coke...she's developed now so I don't feel too bad. However, after getting a little taste of caffeine, all I want is more. Who said caffeine isn't addictive?

8. When I lay in bed to go to sleep at night, I have to reach out my arms to find my poor husband. It's like he's in a different country. My belly has gotten so big, I can't even cuddle close to him anymore and we're usually pretty close sleepers. Not to mention the jungle gym of the pillows. Shoot!

9. But here's the kicker...I must be nearing the end because I'm actually looking at the hospital stay with me, Steve and the baby as a vacation. All of you moms out there who just had their first child will probably be horrified by that statement. Vacation!!! How could it be? But trust me. To me, that extended weekend with the three of us (even without a full night's sleep) is pretty much sounding like paradise to me.

All in all, we're doing fine. I'm just trying to keep things light and laugh at myself a bit as I reach the end. So ha ha ha!! But truthfully, all of us here are really starting to get excited to meet that little girl.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

10 days to go

In honor of our little girl's arrival, scheduled to come in ten days, I've decided to post a sort-of countdown. I think it'll help me get through these last days...mentally that is.

So today's countdown is....

10 Things I'm Really Excited About Having a Girl

1. I can't wait to teach my daughter to cook and bake.

2. Dressing a girl...after 3 boys, need I say more?

3. How her presence will influence our family. We've been tipped so heavily in the boy direction, I'm really interested and excited to see how her addition to our family will affect our boys, my husband and myself.

4. Doing her hair. I've always wanted to have a little girl so that I could do her hair all cute. Lots of braids and pigtails. I LOVE little girls with pigtails.

5. Just have someone like me in the house. I'm not saying she'll look like me-in fact, all of my boys look SO different that I am not really sure what she's going to come out looking like. I just mean, that it'll be nice to have some more femininity in the house besides myself.

6. Being a mother of the bride. Not to say that being a mother of the groom is bad because it isn't. But being a mother of the bride is different and really special.

7. Tea Parties, ballet, dress-up and dolls. I'm a little more suited to that kind of play. Nevertheless, I have gotten pretty good at guns, space ships, trains, legos and tinker toys.

8. Taking her with me, when age appropriate, to girly events like showers.

9. The honor of teaching her what it means to be a Christian woman. I'm not really sure I know all there is to know but...through seeking the Lord's wisdom, I look forward to finding out how to pass on and instill values in her that will benefit her for a lifetime.

10. But the thing I think I'm most excited to see with having a girl, is how my husband reacts to her and their relationship. I think he has no idea what is in store for him.


10 Things That I'm Intrigued/Scared About Having a Girl

1. So I just have to say this. I don't know how to change a girl diaper. I'm sure I'll figure it out different!! At least I don't have to deal with a circumcision this time. I'll take learning the girl diaper over circumcision any day!

2. I'm scared of the attitude. Not that boys don't have attitudes from time to time but, I hear (of course I wouldn't know, ha ha) that girls can be more sassy. If my boys talk back it's pretty tame and they don't do it again once they're told to stop. Yeah...definitely concerned about the sass.

3. How to teach our daughter modesty. I'm not even sure how I learned it and I wonder how to communicate its importance to our little girl.

4. How to apply our principles/rules to a little girl. We must have the same standards but, I'm anticipating their application will be different and at times softer. How to work that boggles me. She could possibly be our last (not sure) so I also don't want her to be spoiled either. Finding that balance will be hard. I guess we'll figure that out as we go.

5. How to let her be girly in the midst of boy land. Trying to let her be who she is will be interesting when all she has around her are three older brothers.

6. How to switch parenting modes from boy to girl. I know parents do this all the time but I've never had to switch. It's always been the same. Maybe it won't be that hard. But to me it's a mystery.

7. Drama. Like sass, I hear girls can be more drama. I know they're definitely more emotional. I mean, I am. Not sure how to deal with that.

8. The teenage years and all of their "changes". My husband and I both agree that boys should talk to Dad about that kind of stuff and girls should talk to mom (when the time comes). Until now, I had pretty much gotten out of talking to anyone about the birds and the bees. Ah least I have some years to prepare.

9. Protecting her. Mostly this will come from her Dad but I just want to shield her from so much of the world and have her make wise decisions. Letting her fail will probably be harder for me to watch than my boys. I don't know why.

10. But the thing I'm probably most scared about is me being a good role model. Of course she's going to look to her Dad but she's going to take her cues about femininity from me and I hope I'm up for the task. God willing, through lots of learning, failing and being covered with God's grace, I'll be able to show her what it means to be a woman.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Last Hurrah

Last night Steve and I ventured out for our last date (for awhile that is). We dropped the kids off at Grandma and Grandpa's and then headed to the harbor for a relaxing dinner on the water. It was beautiful out and it was so nice to look each other in the face and talk without any interruptions. Seriously....sheer bliss. It's always fun to talk and process through the upcoming events and all the changes that will be coming to our family. We always end up marveling at how God has so graciously provided for all of our needs. I have no idea how the transition to four is going to go...I'm trying to keep my expectations realistic and low.

This is the scene we left and we didn't have to pick them all up again until this morning. So we got some great time together. Steve did have a project due for the grad school class he's in last night so we headed home after dinner. But seriously, that was fine with me. I'm not really one to paint the town red when I can no longer see my toes. So we had a quiet evening in after his project was sent off (he pretty much had it ready to go). This morning we slept in until 7 (meaning we didn't get out of bed until 7-hardly ever happens) and then went for a walk. I don't even remember the last time we took a walk by ourselves. That was wonderful too.

And today...well, it's shaping up to be a pretty good day. Birthday party this afternoon....Sabbath Dinner tonight. Earlier today little Joshua sprained his ankle while wrestling with his Dad and big brothers but, not too much damage was done. He just can't walk. And with how active he is and how incredibly huge/tired I am...I'm thinking that may just be a blessing from the Lord. I'm sure he'll be back up to speed in just a few days giving me just enough time to catch my breath.

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Doing our Duty and an Update

Sorry for the lack of blogging. I'm 38 weeks today and just trying to keep up with the masses here. My To Do List is shrinking though and I'm starting to feel as though we'll be "ready" when she comes. But who knows what the next two weeks will bring. Friday night Steve and I will get one last date by ourselves for quite some time and I'm looking forward to that as well. Everything seems to be on schedule to deliver the little girl two weeks from Friday. Let's hope I make it.

But onto other things. So, last night we participated in California's Primary Elections. We usually try and make the effort to vote even if it's not convenient. It's important. We've got a system down now where one of us goes in to vote and the other watches the kids in the car. Then we switch. I always tease Steve and ask him who he voted for and why. Most of the time we're the same...every once in awhile we're not quite. Well, before we went, Isaac asked me what voting was and I tried to explain it to him as best as I could. He then asked if he could go with me. I thought, well, why not?! So I took Isaac in with me to vote and when it was Steve's turn, he took Caleb.

When Steve got back to the car, he looked like he was going to burst. My mind immediately went through the turn of events and what possibly could've happened. I asked him if all was well and he said, "Not now...get in the front." Intrigued, I got into that front seat as fast as I could considering my size. I'm sure it wasn't pretty. He then went on to tell me that Caleb did great inside and watched him vote and everything. He even got to put the ballot into the electric ballot box. I'm waiting for the punch-line. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Then Steve said that he had noticed Caleb looking all around like he was waiting for something. Steve thought he was just intrigued by being inside the Fire Station (that's where we vote).

However, that evidently wasn't it. As they were walking out, Caleb grabbed Steve's hand and very respectfully but forcefully said, "DAD! Why didn't we get on the boat!! Where's the boat?" It took Steve a second to realize what he was talking about. The boat?! What?! Aaaaahhh...that whole time, Caleb thought they were going on a boat, not going to vote. No wonder he seemed so pleased to go. The poor kid had waited so patiently all that time only to find out there wasn't any boat. Steve held in his laughter as best as he could and then explained to Caleb that they weren't going on a boat but had gone in to vote. To which Caleb replied, "Oh, okay." At least he was all right with the switch. Who knows where he thought they were going.

Man, I love that kid.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Walk of Shame

So I'm going to let you all in on a little event that happened to us today. I'm not sure why I feel like laying it all out, but I guess it's just therapeutic to write about it and be able to laugh a little. It also goes to show that we're just not perfect, our kids can have rough days despite our training and it's just the nature of motherhood. can all be encouraged that this wasn't you today because believe the moment, I wanted to walk out of the store and leave myself there with the brood.

Errands aren't usually a problem for me. Sometimes I have issues with one of the children and we need to take a visit to the car to deal with an attitude. However, you don't have to do that often for them to know that you're serious and that you really will deal with them if they don't listen, so usually, my children are fairly pleasant. Normally I get a lot of comments, mostly positive, some weird looks but I know we're quite a crew. Not only do I have three small children who are fairly close in age but, I'm very pregnant and I have all boys. So the usual comments of having all boys, being busy, and am I having a girl, come quite often but they don't bother me much. I know this can bother some moms but, really I know I'm sporting a little army with me everywhere I go so I don't blame others for their curiosity or even their disdain at times. It's just the way it is. But in general, my boys usually do just fine on errands and I feel I can take them anywhere with me. In fact, I enjoy taking them with me places.

So, I decided to run a few errands today. Nothing unusual. I needed to head to the fabric store to pick-up a bit more fabric to finish a blanket I'm working on for #4. I thought the craft store would be the hardest stop so we went there first. I mean, what kid doesn't LOVE looking at craft stuff. And what a disaster for me if I don't have a plan. We started off well and I reminded the boys of the rules before we got out of the car. Isaac basically spelled it all out for me..."No running, talk quietly and obey mom." Great! We all understand each other. I spied a cart and decided it would be best for me to put Joshua in it. We went in. We picked out our fabric. Both older boys listened fairly well and we were out of there in no time. Success!!

On to the next stop. I needed to go to Trader Joe's but decided to stop at the mall play area before going there since it's right across the street. Sometimes I like to surprise the kids and just pull-in there first when they're not expecting it. Of course, they were elated. "You just wanted to bless us Mom!" Isaac squealed. Well, yes I did. Plus, I won't be doing too many of those stops after the new baby comes, at least for awhile, so I'm trying to fit in some "blessings" in these last weeks. In they all trekked, happy and ready to play. I again reminded them that when I told them it was time to go that they were to have cheerful hearts and attitudes. They played. They laughed. They all slid down the slide together holding onto each other...all three of them. I wish I had my camera. It was great. And I merely sat and watched for almost an hour. Bliss for me. Once time was up, they happily put on their shoes and headed out. Success!

But something smelled...bad...and I realized it was Joshua's diaper. And then I noticed I didn't have any wipes. Wonderful. I had to do something. I found a diaper in the car and some napkins and did the best I could. I could clean him up better when I got home. We just had one more stop. Meanwhile, the older two started fighting in the car. I knew I smelled a rat. I should've known that trouble could be around the corner. Yet, I got them calmed down, Josh in his seat, and across the street we went.

Trader Joe's is my happy place. I love it there. If I just want to smile while on errands, I go there and we all get a snack from the sample area. Therefore, the sample lady who is often there, knows us well. I'm the big pregnant lady with three little boys. But I'm digressing. The point is that Trader's is just a wonderful place for me. I don't know why. I just love all of the different cheeses, yogurts, gourmet items and I especially love the prices for certain things. It just makes me feel at ease when I'm there. We started out our trip well. I even splurged a little and got the boys some banana chips which are way too expensive but fun for an extra treat. They were gurgling with excitement. And I was feeling good. I knew I was already getting a few stares with my burgeoning belly and mini army but I was all aglow. As I turned to check the price on an item, all of the sudden, I heard a very loud crash.

Within a split second, I had whirled around to see our cart lying on its side, Caleb pinned underneath and Joshua sprawled on the floor. The loud thud I had heard was Joshua's head hitting the concrete. Both boys were screaming at the top of their lungs and people were scampering away from me like mice. I'm trying to pick them both up off the floor amidst screams and I'm not having much success (remember the large belly). The sample lady, who knows me well, came over to help and got the cart off of Caleb. Luckily, she didn't recoil from me like everyone else. I swear, it was like we had the plague. My middle child can scream quite loud and it takes some time to get him to calm down when he's upset. I've got the baby in my arms, Caleb in a puddle on the floor and Isaac is checking with everyone to make sure they're all right.

I had to do something fast. Suddenly, an idea came to me. The bathroom. Just get to the bathroom so you can comfort everyone and calm the little boys down. I begin to make my way over there and the herd of people parted like the Red Sea. Every step was labored and I didn't know if we were going to make it to our refuge on the other side of the store. Caleb was getting more upset because I was literally dragging him, while lugging Joshua, still screaming, in one arm.

Once I made it past the fruits and veggies aisle, I started to get more than the frightened, scampering looks and people were just staring me down. I'm sure they were all thinking, "Someone tell this lady to stop having children!!" You see, those people didn't know that my children had just taken quite a huge fall and they thought that I was just dealing with tantrums. But I was too determined to care. I continued to trudge my way over to that bathroom as I could see it gleaming at me in the distance. It took to get there. And the thought that kept running through my mind was, "'s been quite some time since I've had a Walk of Shame. I guess I was due (in more ways than one)."

The walk of shame is what Steve and I call it. It doesn't happen often and usually it's due to bad behavior. But you all know what I'm talking about. You've got a screaming child that you can't deal with properly in public, mostly due to the child's hysteria, so you must remove them from the situation to properly address the problem. Nevertheless, you must walk through a sea of people to get there, who are all staring at you like you're a lunatic. That, my friends, is what we call The Walk of Shame. And today, I had another, labored, trudging, outright embarrassing, Walk of Shame.

After what seemed like an hour and many stares/shakes of the head later, we made it to our refuge, shut the door and all huddled on the bathroom floor. Yes, the floor. I know, at this point, I was just shameless. And I'll admit it right now, I didn't even wash their hands before we left. It had taken all of my energy to get to that bathroom. I couldn't do another thing but simply comfort my boys. So, I calmed them all down, pulled myself together and then determined to finish the shopping trip. And that's what we did. We walked out of that bathroom and finished our shopping.

Events like this remind me that no matter how good the plan, or how well everyone may be acting, trouble can always lurk around the corner and you never know what you might be getting yourself into. And it's good to experience these things as tough as they are. I'm not perfect. My kids aren't perfect. I never dreamed Caleb could tip that cart over on accident like he did. The kid doesn't even weigh 40 pounds yet. But God gives us grace in the moment and helps us navigate our Walks of Shame. I was pretty embarrassed but knew it would pass and that I'd be able to go home and laugh about it all later.

Maybe Super Mom would've been able to handle it differently. I don't know because I'm not her. But what I do know is that God gives us humility in many forms. Some are easier to swallow than others. A lot of times mine come from an experience with one of my children. Today was no exception. But as a wife and mom, these things shape me and help me be a better Christian.

And it's not Trader's fault. Still without exception, even with the Walk of Shame today, Trader's is my happy place. But I've learned my lesson: next time, I'll just be sure to remind Caleb not to grab onto the side of the cart and I won't let that cart out of my sight, not for one split second.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I have some great friends. Today I was given a shower by my neighbors who are also my buddies and it was simply wonderful. I told them from the beginning that I didn't need a shower as this is my fourth child. Yet, they still went all out and showered us with many blessings. From the amazing cake my friend Monica made to the decorations, everything was simply perfect. It was a really special time. Both my mom and Steve's mom made it and my dear sister-in-law from San Jose also came. There were various Monte Vista staff as well as friends/neighbors who are all a part of our community here. I am so blessed to be loved so much!! I must was QUITE fun to have a girly shower. I've never had one of those before. I couldn't stop smiling and all of my boys had a great time too (especially when all the yummy food came out).

My friend Monica MADE this cake. Isn't it amazing? She really is talented.

All of the food was so incredibly delicious and so thoughtful. Basically, they made all of my favorite things from the pineapple cheese ball to broccoli and bacon salad. I felt so honored by the careful thought they put into the food.

My mom with Caleb and my nephew Christos. Good things both grandmas were there because they really helped with the kids. Thanks Grandma and Yia Ya!!

Isaac helped me open all of my presents. Truthfully, it was really helpful because I couldn't reach very far into the bags to get stuff out. Isaac dutifully helped (yeah right...he was more than happy to "help" my open stuff).

Josh ate just about everything in sight but he was a trooper. The shower went well into his nap time and he pulled through just fine. Thanks Grandma for getting him home right after to take a nap.

Things started out a bit rough for this one when he couldn't have a chocolate covered strawberry right off the bat. Nevertheless, he bounced back when the food came out and helped himself to quite a few Wheat Thins. I just love this kid.

Isaac and his best buddies at Monte Vista. These kids have grown up together these past five years and love each other so, so much.

Me and my Mommy!! Of course, in her style, she showered us with a TON of cute stuff and helped watch the boys too. Thanks for coming and bringing Theodora Mom!!

I didn't get a picture of the two girls who put on this wonderful show for me today so, I'll just mention their names. Monica and Allison, you gave me the most beautiful shower ever. I felt so overwhelmed by everyone's generosity and I'm truly thankful you guys are my close friends and that we get to raise our kids together and just do life together. Thanks for all your hard work!!

We are truly blessed and are excitedly waiting the arrival of baby girl, #4, in three weeks. It'll be here before we know it. And after today and all that loot...I've got a lot of work to do!!