Wednesday, February 26, 2014

yearning to stand

Just last week Ezra started doing this:

Apparently army crawling is not enough for nearly 9 month old Ezra. He is very ready to stand and walk around. He's figured out how to pull himself up to these stairs but not how to climb them. He does sometimes tumble over, but for the most part his melon has avoided injury. 

And seriously, how cute is he? Look at how proud he is!

Whenever he is playing on the main floor of our house (which is most of the time he's awake), he spends the majority of his time just hanging out, leaning and standing by these stairs. The little stinker. Doesn't he know he's too young for this?

Monday, February 24, 2014

awana quizzing

Noah has been doing Awana for three years, since 2011-2012 when he was six and we were in Gburg... I think. I am getting old and having a hard time remembering! After having done some research, I see that I wrote this post before we left Gburg so that's what I'm basing my timing on (I tell you what - having a blog is very helpful for remembering what's happened in our lives!).
Anyway, Awana is a program that helps kids hide God's word in their hearts and minds. And Noah is quite good at it. His mind just works the right way I guess. 

This year he was eligible for Awana Quizzing. This event, which is a competition for the area churches, took place at our church the first weekend in February while Terry was out of town for Dare2Share. My mom was kind enough to watch the other three punks so I could go with and watch Noah compete. He'd been practicing for a few weeks beforehand and really knew his stuff.

Here he is holding up the correct answer in the multiple choice section.

But he had a little difficulty after he missed one question. Either he didn't understand the question or he got flustered by missing a question or he just didn't know the correct answer. He ended up missing a few during this multiple choice portion. He was quite upset about that and needed some serious reassurance. That boy sure takes failure very hard. 

He rallied himself for the group question time. He and his little teammates Alex and Landon had to compete against the other groups and buzz in first in order to give an answer. In this photo Alex buzzed in and went up the microphone to give the answer. Noah is nervously holding his hands in his mouth and Landon is a blur. Unfortunately they got this question wrong and didn't buzz in soon enough for another chance.

The quizzing was definitely harder than I expected. And certainly for Noah as well. The questions  didn't want to know necessarily exactly what does the verse said, but something specific about the verse. Tricky. But all was (mostly) redeemed in Noah's eyes when his group placed third in their division and they received a red ribbon. He really wanted a purple ribbon but was glad to have got some kind of prize.
Alex, Noah, Landon and Pete.

Noah was pretty psyched to attend the Quizzing party at the Swim Center last Friday night. He and Landon played and ate pizza for almost two hours. He cried when it was time to go home. It was a good experience and hopefully he can do it again next year having learned some things. He did great though. Good job Noah!
Noah is in the striped shorts making his attempt to get on the turtle amidst the wrestling boys.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


 Our friends Seth and Kagney had been married for nearly eight years when they found out they were finally pregnant with their very first child. Perhaps because I was outspoken about how wonderful my birth was outside of the hospital at the birth center in Whitewood, SD, they came to me wanting to hear more about my experiences so they could make a more informed decision about choosing a provider. After having had three babies in three different hospitals and then having had a water birth (plus being a nurse), I felt I had a pretty good perspective. I just told them how very much superior the midwife model was for me compared to the hospital show-up-and-catch-the-baby-and-have-almost-no-support model. I guess they liked what I had to say because they decided to go to the same midwife I used. 

What surprised me more was that they asked me to be their doula (a doula is a labor support person, not in replacement of the husband of course. because, really, a laboring woman needs all the help she can get!)! I'd never had a doula and didn't know if I could do the job, but since the midwife suggested me and I've had four kids, I agreed. I did more research to compliment what I already knew from school and felt pretty good about it. We met three times before Kagney went in to labor to talk about pregnancy and labor and what to expect. It was teaching and question and answer time over mochas. That was fun. 

I had told them several times not to expect the baby to come early since that hardly ever happens with first time mothers. But we were a little concerned about it since Terry was going to be out of town for Dare 2 Share the weekend before her due date. Who would watch my kids if she went in to labor early and Terry was gone? I could have worked something out of course, but thought the probability was pretty low. But low and behold, at the exact moment that Terry arrived back at the church from Dare 2 Share, Kagney's water broke. Seriously. Terry returned at 6pm on Sunday January 9th and that's when Kagney went in to labor. Talk about divine timing!

I was able to spend a couple hours with Terry before Seth, Kagney and I drove the 45 minutes to the birth center to be checked out and administered her first dose of antibiotics since she was Group B Step positive. She was already 3 cm dilated but we were sent back home with two more doses of antibiotics for the next eight hours (you can't be admitted unless you're in very active labor). I got to bed at 130am but was so worked up I could not sleep for anything! At 345am I headed across town to Seth and Kagney's to give her the next dose of antibiotics. She was having more contractions, but we were mostly trying to rest. At 8am for her next dose the contractions were picking up and Kagney was having to breathe through them and was feeling pretty nauseous. I thought we had better leave for the birth center since it sounded to me like she was getting pretty close. 

I was wrong! She had only gained 1cm. That was a very discouraging time for all of us, due in part to how very tired we all were. But I felt bad since I made the call. I definitely learned a lot by that choice. So the midwife sent us out to get some breakfast (no one had eaten since the night before and it was 10am and we needed fuel!) and to do some walking. We went to Perkins in Spearfish since that sounded good to Kagney. It was definitely good to eat. Her contractions were coming every 4 to 5 minutes lasting about a minute and were pretty strong, but we were still feeling so very tired. After having had some food, I was able to be more positive. Another thing learned!
Kagney breathing through a contraction at Perkins. We were pretty sure our waitress knew Kagney was in labor and was totally freaked out, which we thought was really amusing. It seemed like she gave us the check a little too quickly. Ha!

We went back to the birth center at 12pm for the next dose of antibiotics and were advised to go rest somewhere (since we had nearly NO sleep all night and were plain exhausted) and then walk to get things moving more. We decided to get a hotel in Sturgis instead of going all the way back to Rapid. We all tried to rest, but Kagney's contractions were coming often enough, it was pretty impossible. So we just tried lots of different positions to help her and applied a lot of counterpressure to her poor back. After a couple hours, Kagney was finally able to get some rest. By then it was about 4pm and time for the next dose of antibiotics. At first I was just going to go grab them and come back to the hotel when Jeanne thought she'd come herself and check on Kagney. We were told enough rest and more activity! But Kagney was now dilated to a 6 so we could be admitted to the birth center.

Being able to go to the birth center was such a relief. And once there, Kagney's labor definitely picked up. Seth or I was coaching her through every single contraction and she was doing wonderfully even though I could tell they hurt like the dickens. After about an hour and a half Kagney was able to labor in the tub and I know that's a nice feeling. She was almost there! 

In fact, she hadn't been laboring long in the tub before it was time to push. Poor Kagney ended up pushing for about one hour! I had no concept of this from my own experience. I had only ever pushed about five times in that many minutes (and most likely less time) and I was done and the baby was born. Kagney did so great though. She had wonderful support and instructions and birthed that baby all by herself at 803pm on Monday January 10th. It was beautiful!

I had completely forgotten that they didn't know the gender since I had been so concerned on getting that baby out. But they went to check and it was a girl! She looked big too.

Kagney was quick to share her name and it's meaning: Elyada Mae, Hebrew for God has heard. They had waited quite a while for God to give them a baby and God heard them! She ended up being 8 pounds and 5 ounces. 

After getting Kagney and Seth dinner and having a little myself once she was all settled, I was finally able to go home. It had been about 24 hours with maybe 30 minutes of sleep! So tired. But so good. In my eagerness to get home, I didn't even have a chance to hold baby Elyada! That plus there was just too much going on for me to even have the chance. So two days later before Awana and Youth Group, I brought all of my kids and I was able to hold her and they were able to meet her. They really wanted to since they had been praying for us during the labor (I had asked my family for prayers throughout the day and especially during pushing). In fact, we think Elyada was born just after the kids and Terry prayed that she would be born. God heard again!
What an amazing experience. I'm so thankful and proud to have been a part of it. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

finishing school books

Last week Noah hit three "milestones" in one day. Kind of. I just mean that he finished three books on the same day and it felt pretty cool. 
 We had been going through that Aesop's Fables book for reading and it's actually quite a hard book (I think so anyway, and he agrees!). He's got another one he's working on now. 

The Beta book was the Math-u-see equivalent of second grade so now we are on to Gamma which is multiplication. He's loving it so far! He most definitely prefers math to reading. 

It's not been that long since he finished the other half of his second grade Spelling book, but now we'll just work on finishing up Grammar. When we're done with that we'll borrow some third grade curriculum to take us through the summer where we'll start on Latin! I want to get him to the same level as his third grade friends, which is what he would be if we hadn't held him back. So yeah. Update complete.

pillow pet races

Ezra seems to like to drag himself around the slick floor of the kitchen and dining room. And after Samuel received his belated birthday Lightning McQueen pillow pet, they thought they'd join Ezra on the floor and began an impromptu pillow pet race around the kitchen island. I thought it was funny and began taking pictures. Terry said, "Go around the other way so you have something besides butts to look at." Good point.

Pile up on the corner!

Oops. More butts. At least my floor got a good polishing.

Monday, February 17, 2014

backyard olympics

We had a couple inches of very light snow last week during the latest spiral-frigid-polar-nasty weather week. I was gone being a doula for some friends and so Terry was in charge and played outside with the kids when it finally got nicer outside. He scooped up the snow from all over the back yard and piled it at the base of the slide. The kids then took turns racing down the slide on their little butt sleds and it reminded me of the Olympic luge a little bit.

Out pops Samuel! But his speed wasn't as great since he only had his wet snow pants and not a sled. But that's a good thing.

Evie followed...

...and Noah brought up the rear! Samuel looks all dejected. They had so much fun. But now it's nice out and the pile has turned to even harder ice - I saw the kids hacking away at it with a shovel yesterday. Evie slipped on it and scraped her chin. It'll melt soon...

climbing under stuff

I had to check my facebook to determine how long Ezra has been crawling. Since January 21st! At that point he was only 10 days away from being eight months old. Since then he's been motoring around the floor by his forearms and toes, army crawling style. I don't know why, but he's really drawn to the dining room. He likes to pull himself around under the chairs and table, get stuck, bump his head and cry for help. 

He's also very interested in playing under the buffet table next to the kitchen. We just keep toys under there but he's not even interested in those. He just wants to pull himself in there and hang out. This afternoon I caught him trying to climb up the stairs. We think he's not satisfied with crawling and wants to walk pretty bad. Who's to blame him though? Those brothers and sister look like they have a pretty good time on two legs. He likes to watch them out the back patio door.
He's always doing these impressive core "V" exercises where he puts his butt in the air. He's nearly doing it here even though it appears like he's leaning against the buffet. He's not. His butt is up. Silly baby.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Samuel's 3rd birthday - part 2

After we spent the first half of Samuel's birthday at the ranch, my folks and brother and Ana came over in the evening to celebrate. We used the other half of the cake from that morning. Trust me, you can't have too much of that cake. 

Ana! And pudgy Ezra. 

Again, the theme for most of the birthday gifts was boy dress up clothes. Nathan and Ana got him this Ninja Turtle shell and nun-chucks. He liked to whip those things around. They're pretty soft thankfully.

I found this Batman costume at Target on clearance! After he refused to dress up in his cowboy outfit that morning, I didn't know if he'd put on the new stuff that was coming. But somehow he was alright about Batman and the turtle shell. Perhaps he prefers super heroes? Well, but, I mean, how could you not I guess? 

Oh Evie. She is such a goof. Even more than her wacky brothers! 

Perhaps she gets it from my brother. But wait, Nathan did this after Evie...

In order to encourage Samuel to play in his new dress up stuff, Terry also dressed up and battled Samuel. This is so attractive to me! I love it! 

And then they switched costumes. Watch out Daddy! He's gonna throw that bat dart thing at your face! 

Finally we were able to get him to dress up in the cowboy costume. He's so cute! Then he would shoot Terry with his gun until he fell over dead. It was so adorable when Terry would shoot him back and Samuel would drop. 

I think he had a pretty good day. Love that little caveman grunting punk so much!

Samuel's 3rd birthday - part 1

Samuel turned three years old on February 1st. Daddy made party hats the night before for each of the kids to wear. Evie was the most excited about hers while Samuel didn't really care. But he was a fan of his waffle breakfast. 

We headed out to the ranch bright and early so Ezra could nap there and we could celebrate with Terry's family before his mom went to work. Grace was born just two days before Samuel so it's sort of become a tradition to celebrate together. 

Great Grandma and baby Sarah.  

I made my favorite chocolate cake that I made last year because, well, it's my favorite and Samuel still can't talk well enough to tell me what he prefers (though after his 3 year old check up the doctor prescribed speech therapy. so we will be doing a bit of that and hopefully it will help!). We had Samuel blow out the candles and then re-lit them for Grace. 

We forgot to give Samuel his "man necklace" for Christmas, so we made sure we gave it for his birthday. I like his face. Excited? Not so much. More like, "What the heck is this?" He always wears Evie's stuff so we wanted to get him something just for him. 

He liked the gun that Gramma and Grampa got him a lot better. 

He would not wear the cowboy outfit they also got him. Again, trying to encourage boy dress up clothes. But Evie was all about it. See her skirt between the chaps? Ha! 

 Sarah was looking so cute while Shari was playing Battleship. 

Grace wants to do everything Evie does so she got dressed up next and attacked Terry. 

Love that face! 

Terry got out his old cork gun that he apparently used to shoot at Shari. No corks left but it still cocks and clicks like it shoots. Samuel liked that too. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ezra learns to wrestle

Wrestling is a very popular past time around here. Ezra has been watching the fun for long enough that he's picked up a few tricks. And now that he can army crawl, he's ready to put them to the test. 

Daddy's got Samuel pinned. In order to free poor Samuel (doesn't he look so despondent?), Evie holds down Daddy's legs while Noah tickles him. Ezra is definitely paying close attention.

I think Noah is trying to get away. I like his face. Ezra is waiting for the perfect moment to strike...

Finally Ezra goes in for the Daddy face grab! And it renders the Daddy helpless. Oh yeah.

And the hair grab! Good baby :) 

that lovable face

I was playing around with Ezra the other day and Noah wanted to take photos. It's just so pleasant having a baby in the house and we are all crazy about him. He can't talk or disobey. He's just always adorable and squishable and lovable!

Sometimes I just have to squeeze him! 

I mean...right?! Look at that face! 

This face!

We call this "Flying baby!" 

He always laughs while flying. He's grown so much since we last took photos of him flying when Stephanie was here and he was only three and a half months old. He'll be 1 in no time (or less than four months to be exact)!