Seven weeks of Eden

Hello family and friends, near and far. Here is an update on life, an apology for the sporadic communication, and a testimony to the goodness of God regarding our last seven weeks.

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Our sweet Eden Evangeline was born on July 20 weighing a splendid seven pounds and twelve ounces. At six weeks she weighed a few tenths of an ounce less than that.

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I cannot recount every detail here, but we have been through many ups and downs as we realized that Eden was struggling to gain weight. From the beginning she was horribly fussy, but seemed to nurse well and be content afterwards. At her one week visit we knew she had not gained enough. At two weeks she had actually lost a little more. At our first lactation appointment they said everything looked okay, that she might have a small tongue-tie, but that since I was experiencing no pain in nursing that it probably wasn’t a huge problem. I had been letting her sleep  long stretches and feeding her every four hours unless she woke up earlier so we decided that she just needed extra feedings and that we would continue going to have her weighed every week to see if there was improvement. She gained steadily but in small increments, we kept hoping she would turn the corner and take off. Her biggest gain was five ounces, but then only three – making it back to birth weight by five weeks. The doctor said a tongue-tie revision may or may not help. I wanted to wait; it was so tricky because she seemed to be nursing fine, was sleeping okay, had enough wet and dirty diapers, and was taking in the right amount as measured at the lactation appointments.

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At six weeks she had dipped just under birth weight again. So it was all-systems-go, whatever we had to do. We scheduled a tongue-tie revision the following day; I began pumping, and we began supplementing with formula.

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We started out not too worried and taking it in stride. But as the weeks wore on her lack of weight gain weighed heavily. Some days it felt like we listened to her fuss all day. Then it would seem to be better. Some nights she never really settled down and other nights she slept all night. Nothing was ever consistent. I knew more than likely she would be fine. I knew that other people have gone through much harder things than this. But it felt like I couldn’t keep the balance between giving her everything I had and doing the most basic of other things. (I’m not even talking about laundry/meals/cleaning; we have had amazing support from our church here.) For the first time in my life I found myself choosing sleep over showers! I would do so good taking in extra calories and water and then forget for a few days and wonder if that had been the cause for the ounces she had missed. I would stay home and rest and she would do well so I would try going out to do something fun with the kids and then feel like it took a toll on her.  (Of course you don’t know but these are the things you wonder when you’re so closely connected to this tiny little person.)

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From the beginning, the Lord helped me to see that this was good for me. After six nearly problem-free infants, here was something new. A chance to be humbled, to learn – my inclination that it would work itself out was wrong. I’m so thankful for the advice and help from the doctor and lactation consultant.

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I cried at the thought of the fierce love I felt for Eden, the determination to see good done for her even though she was weak and needy and giving nothing in return. I knew that God’s love for me, his adopted child, was far greater and more perfect than that love I felt for her. Even in these circumstances.

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We knew that God’s wisdom and timing are perfect. That in His providence He gives things that are hard to understand.

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Why our seventh baby? Why right after we moved across the country? Why literally the day before we start back to school?

I don’t know the answers at all, but I do know that this has been a time of weakness. And a time to see His perfect strength – whether it’s through a meal delivered by a friend, a text from someone who is praying for you, a song about His greatness, the ability to continue on through exhaustion, or simply the knowledge that His Spirit is at work in you when you can feel nothing else.

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There is not a perfect ending to this story as we are still quite possibly in the middle. Eden weighed eight pounds three ounces at her seven week appointment and that was a huge success. We have every reason to believe she will continue, but at several points in this process I thought we had figured things out. With our trust and hope in God, we are doing all we can to chunk that girlie up.

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Thank you so much to all who have prayed and offered encouragement and practical help. This is certainly light affliction compared to many others, but it has certainly been given to draw us closer to Christ as we see how much more valuable and sufficient He is than anything else.

Eden, I tell you all the time, but we are so happy you are here. Already we long even more for that coming perfect fellowship with God and are grateful for the work of Christ to accomplish that for us. And we have your sweet name to help us remember.

As silly as…

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Teaching kids serious lessons about God, the Bible, and theology does not always happen in serious ways. We’ve talked about this before, right?

A few weeks ago we had a fun but profitable conversation at breakfast regarding our purpose in life. I can’t really remember how it started, but we began talking about how silly it was for people to think that they could take their life (which God had made) and use it for what they wanted (instead of His glory.)

One person started and then another and here is a sampling of what we came up with – minus the giggles:

Using your life to please yourself is as silly as…

…using a plate for a washcloth

…or a rosebush for a chair

…a cup of water for a hat

…or a table for a blanket

…a shark for a ship just would not be a good idea

…nor orange juice for window cleaner (but I’m tempted to think someone on Pinterest has tried)

One child who shall remain nameless suggested a piece of wood for a bench.

Actually….

****

It was a ton of fun, and yet I pray just one more tiny step towards solid thinking from good theology.

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Summer bucket list

Today is our first official summer weekday – school is over!

I’ve decided to keep track of all the special things we get to do – things that seem elusive in the pace of homeschooling life.

So this is really a bucket list in reverse. Cherishing those sweet, small, unexpected moments as they come.

Yesterday started my inspiration.

1. Worked on a puzzle with Hope. Everyone else was either napping or otherwise occupied – it was wonderful!

2. Played Candyland with Mckayla and Sophia. Two whole games! How long has it been since we’ve done that?

This morning.

3. Watching Mckayla “read” Mayweigh for Ducklings to Zoe. (also known as Make Way for Ducklings to the non-three years olds of the world.) Zoe was more interested in the cereal Gracie was pouring, but it was incredibly sweet nonetheless.

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The greatest lemonade stand ever – phase 1

the greatest lemonade stand ever

Oh my goodness, how I love our Hopey. Her eyes twinkle when she talks about anything to do with this lemonade stand.

The first lemonade stand has come and went. It was fantastic.

I woke up Hope at 6:22am, which is approximately a very long time before she normally wakes up. By the time I was out of the shower and ready, she had woken up all her sisters (except Zoe, thank you!) and everyone was ready to go.

the greatest lemonade stand ever

We open the door… and it’s raining. I think I may have stomped an internal foot or something. It can’t rain on the greatest lemonade stand ever. They had worked so hard! Hours and hours of making signs, baking, decorating cups with washi tape… we had to move forward.

Sophia and Mckayla had to wash their hands A LOT while we were baking cookies. = )
Sophia and Mckayla had to wash their hands A LOT while we were baking cookies. = )

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We took everything out to the front porch and by the time we got it out the rain had lightened enough for us to move on out to the driveway. It was so exciting to be actually setting up!

Customers came right away; thankfully it was a steady stream not a rush. We quickly realized that the cookies were the most popular item – though honestly, who wants lemonade on a drizzly Saturday morning before eight o’clock? The lemonade became more popular as the morning went on.

The girls were so proud to tell people that one teenager liked the cookies so much he came back for seconds. = )

the greatest lemonade stand ever

Sophia was invaluable for advertising. Every car that drove by was greeted with a rather loud and cheery, “Lemonade and cookies! Lemonade and cookies!” As soon as anyone would get out of the car at the neighbors yard sale she would yell again, “Lemonade and cookies! Lemonade and cookies!” Soon the other girls chimed in.

How long will they keep that up? I wondered. They’re going to be completely hoarse tomorrow!

They kept it up for several hours. It worked like a charm. = ) And no voices were lost in the process.

Gracie and Mckayla didn’t even need to pass out free samples. Business was great regardless. They stayed busy sampling for themselves. = )

At the end of the day, Hope made several dollars more than what she put into it. Also, the only supplies we will have to replace are the cookie mixes.

Bottom line – phase two should be almost all profit.

Speaking of phase two, I’ve emailed our local Chamber of Commerce for suggestions or guidelines on choosing locations for a lemonade stand. They haven’t responded and Hope is less than impressed.

I know this because as Paul and I were eating out on a date this week, he got a text from the family who was -so sweetly!- watching the girls. The text read, “Hope doesn’t think my son would want to be a part of the Chamber of Commerce.” We laughed to ourselves and figured the lemonade stand must have come up in conversation.

When we picked the girls up our friend explained that they were telling the girls about their sons and what they’re studying in college. When they mentioned that one was studying business Hope blurted out, “I’m sure he does NOT want to be in the Chamber of Commerce.” She hadn’t given an explanation so we told how them that she was a little peeved that these people (who are supposed to help businesses!) had not helped her out with her lemonade stand yet.

And that is where we stand. We are working on a location and date for the next lemonade stand.

Stay tuned! = )

(Oh, and there’s already a pre-order for cookies!)

the greatest lemonade stand ever

The greatest lemonade stand ever

via Getty Images
via Getty Images

Our daughter Hope has been planning and saving and dreaming of a lemonade stand for at least eight months. And it all begins this Saturday!

We had our first official business meeting today after months of brainstorming and waiting for warmer weather. We hope to do several throughout the summer so this will be a great test run for all of our ideas.

She’s so excited! She gave Mckayla the job of passing out free samples (we’re selling cookies, too) but gave her strict instructions that she could not eat all the samples!

I believe that Sophia and Gracie have also invested in the plan. Hope has been saving her money for so long and she has enough to buy all the supplies herself. As her mom, I know that failure or disappointment can be as valuable as success, but I really hope it goes well for her!!

So today we finalized decisions on the menu -lemonade and pink lemonade; oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip and sugar cookies- decided how we would garnish it, figured out what kind and size of cups we would serve it in, how we would make our display, and how we would get ready throughout the week.

Wednesday is shopping; Thursday is banner and menu sign day; and Friday is food prep.

After we shop we’ll make final decisions about prices and quantities to prepare.

Doesn’t this sound like fun??

It’s so sweet to see her eyes light up when we talk about it. As the oldest of a larger family she’s very sweet and patient to help and play with her sisters, but this is big girl stuff!

I’m going to do my best to take pictures and keep track of our progress here because I have a feeling this will be something to remember!!

Check back to see what happens with The Greatest Lemonade Stand Ever. 

For family and friends: Farm Day 2014

If you remember from last year, Farm Day was one of our favorite things. See here and here for last year’s pictures. The girls have been waiting all year and it was an officially marked day off of school.

Because of how many pictures there are, I will try to keep my comments to a minimum. All the girls did great with all the animals; no scaredy-cats this year. = ) And Mommy didn’t have to push Mckayla in the stroller – yay!

I hope you enjoy!

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It's hard to tell, but these are the bunnies... always a favorite.
It’s hard to tell, but these are the bunnies… always a favorite.

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Yes, the bunnies sort of ran away from Mckayla. = )

Thanks for looking through all of these! I tried not to have too many of the backs of their heads. = ) I hope these are a blessing to all our dear family and friends who we don’t get to see often enough. We love you all!

Christie

 

For family and friends: Snow!

Here they are! The lovely pictures of our sweet girls playing in the snow.

Sophia ran around like a crazy person doing everything you could imagine and more to play in the snow. Hope loved it and was quite a sport as well. They actually made lists that morning of all the things they wanted to do in the snow. = ) Gracie enjoyed it for about ten minutes; and Mckayla enjoyed it for about ten seconds. And those were the ten seconds it took for me to carry her down the stairs and set her down in the snow.

All in all, these are fantastic memories for us. When we came inside we gave the girls “coffee” which consisted of about one-tenth coffee, two-tenths sugar, and seven-tenths milk. They huddled around and drank it feeling very important. Paul’s great-grandmother used to make him coffee like that when he was little so it was a little sentimental for us as well.

A few days after that initial play, we went out again. Some very sweet neighbor boys gave the girls rides in their tub and snowboard down the hill. How fun! And we built the smallest snowman known to mankind.

Enjoy!

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Sweetest Daddy
Sweetest Daddy
This snow "castle" was about all that could be built with that powdery snow.
This snow “castle” was about all that could be built with that powdery snow.

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I can't blame Mckayla for wanting to go inside. It was 24 degrees - brrrr!!
I can’t blame Mckayla for wanting to go inside. It was 24 degrees – brrrr!!

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So proud of their castle. Sophia wanted to make a flag for it.
So proud of their castle. Sophia wanted to make a flag for it.
"Sophia, stop eating the snow!"
“Sophia, stop eating the snow!”

 

A few days later. It's amazing how warm 35 can feel.
A few days later. It’s amazing how warm 35 can feel.

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Olympics 2026, here we come! = )
Olympics 2026, here we come! = )
Making their first snowman with whatever they could find. No comments on his figure.
Making their first snowman with whatever they could find. No comments on his figure.

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Greatly objecting to the snowman picture. She was cold and ready to go inside!
Greatly objecting to the snowman picture. She was cold and ready to go inside!
All done!
All done!

Love to all,

Christie