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January 30, 2009

Daily Dynamics

If you have a large family you know what that people are intrigued by large families and the way they do things. Really I feel quite ‘normal’ until people start asking all the questions (not to mention gaucking with their mouths open:) I inform people they only came one at a time, we got used to them one at a time and adjusted one at a time. When it was requested that I share on this blog a bit about how our family functions, scheduling and things of such my first thought was “I don’t feel qualified to share about any of these things.” I don’t feel like an expert by any means and even though people think we must be super organized parents and have a super organized household, the truth is I sometimes feel like things are far from that. Yes we have schedules, yes we have routine, yes we have lists (my hubby thinks I overdo it in this regard sometimes :) But honestly, there are days when I feel nothing is functioning according to plan, and the house is falling to pieces. And so even though I am going to share some of our tidbits with you in regards to how we do things around here, I want you to know that it isn’t all perfect. I think one of the biggest things I have learned in having a large family is that I need to relax. My house will not always look perfect, there will be finger prints on the windows (why is it that kids love to ‘finger paint’ in the moisture on the windows?), that there will be dust and cobwebs, there will be toys on the floor, there will be odd smells, and there will be days that it seems like nothing got accomplished. It took me awhile to get to the point of relaxing and if you ask my family they probably think I need more practice in the relaxing department, but I feel I have come a long way. But in saying that, I have a long way to go. There is a balance between perfection and messy. I like to think of it as the ‘lived in’ look. I used to be a perfectionist. Having lots of kids has slowly weaned me from that. If I want my kids to help out, I have to let go a bit, okay…A LOT :) But I have learned to be okay with that. There are times where I have had to walk away while a job is being done so I do not ‘nag’ about the way I would do it so much better. And granted there are times, because I have had years of experience, that there are tips I can and do pass on. But too many times I nit-pick and frustrate the people around me, so it is better for me to not watch. And of course as they get older, they do better, in fact ALMOST as good as me and it seems like there is a light at the end of the tunnel! So after saying all this…I will plan over time to share how we run ship around here. Some stuff has been trial and error. Some stuff has worked for us for awhile while other things may only be for a season. So to start, here is a sample schedule of our day. Of course being that we live on the farm, schedules can be thrown out the window pretty quickly. Just like the other morning when the house was abuzz because an unexpected calf was born. It is days like those where I have to smile at the excitement and realize that maybe today we won’t get everything accomplished that I may have wanted to. And that’s OKAY. And since Josiah has joined things have gotten shuffled a bit. But normally this is what our day consists of.
7:00-8:30 -Dad and Mom milk -Boys do rabbit and chicken chores -Girls make breakfast, dress kids and start on the laundry. SIDE NOTE: Each week the girls have their area of responsibility. They rotate between kids (dressing, changing diapers, and whatever other help is needed), meals and laundry. -After chores, everyone who wants to, eats breakfast. Our breakfasts (unlike the other two meals) is not a sit down together family kind of meal. 8:30-12:00 -School 12:00-1:00 -Lunch -Boys clean off table -Girls do dishes and sweep 1:00-3:00 -Boys pick eggs -Girls do their daily job 3:00-5:00 -If weather permits, outdoor activity -Otherwise games, reading, puzzles etc. -Mikaya naps 5:00 -Final supper preparations 5:30 or 6:00-6:30 or 7:00 -Supper -Boys clean off table -Girls do dishes and sweep 7:00-8:00 -Free time -Get younger kids ready for bed 8:00-9:00 -Girls (2 of them) milk 9:00-10:30 or 11:00 -Often games or individual reading So there you have it. Our day in a nutshell. So, is there something you have been wondering about our family and the way we do things? If so, here’s your chance :)

January 29, 2009

Hockey Day

Here is a video of what we do almost every afternoon. Great for excercise, fresh air and loads of family fun! View this montage created at One True Media
Hockey Jan./09

January 28, 2009

Letter To Josiah

I wanted to share this letter from a friend ever since Josiah was born. I just had to ask her permission first. She consented but shared she would rather stay annonymous because she didn't want it to become about her. She wants to give God the glory and I respect that.
Many people have been asking why we gave Josiah three names, especially since Daniel is one that we have used for Nathan already. This letter explains why. When we chose Josiah's name we had narrowed it down to 2. Josiah or Daniel. We chose Josiah James and told the girls to let people know that's what his name was. Shortly after our friend visited and shared what you are about to read. It was at that point we realized why Daniel was on the list and decided that we needed to have it be part of his name as well. As a reminder of what we knew so well already, Satan had tried to snuff out his life but God wasn't going to allow it, He kept the lion's mouth shut.
Since then we have had a few people tell us that they felt prompted to pray for us in the days before Josiah was born. We just want to say thank you to those of you who felt the promptings of the Holy Spirit and were obedient to do warfare on our part. This was a testimony to us of how we always need to be faithful when God puts someone on our hearts and asks us to pray for them. We believe it is because of this that Josiah is with us today. We don't understand all what happens in the spiritual, but we don't have to. We just have to be faithful. We don't understand why God chose to save Josiah's life when we know that there are many people who have lost children, we just know that we need to trust. If things had turned out differently that wouldn't have changed who God is. God is God and we will serve Him no matter what comes our way. But we also know the importance of giving testimony of His great works to encourage others in their walk with Him.
I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.
Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.
They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They will celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
The LORD is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
All you have made will praise you, O LORD;
your saints will extol you.
They will tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might,
so that all men may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Psalm 145:1-12
Here is the letter our friend wrote:
Dear Josiah James Daniel,
Every baby is a gift from God, but I have a story that will reassure you that you are a very special gift, and that He has a big plan for your life.
The night before you were born I woke up out of a deep sleep as if I hadn't been sleeping at all, I was instantly wide awake. The first thing I felt was that I had been dreaming about your family ALLL night - but I couldn't remember one single dream. I just know that they (your mommy especially) were strongly on my mind, and I believe that God was helping me pray for her in spirit, even while I was sleeping.
My next reaction was pretty human - "Oh great, now what am I suppose to do that I'm wide awake at 5 a.m.?" Then I remembered that I should ask God if He woke me up. So I did that, and right away your mommy and daddy were on my mind again. I took that as a cue to pray. I started to pray like anybody would pray for a woman who may be about to have a baby - that God would send strength and peace, that the baby would be born healthy, that things would progress quickly....Then I asked God how He wanted me to pray.
I know that He gave me a few scriptures to pray over you all, but the only one I could remember later that morning was from Psalm 23- "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..." My mind wouldn't go past that line and yet I tried to argue with myself saying "That's not really an appropriate verse to welcome a new baby into this world!" But I prayed through it. I started to ask God more fervently for wisdom and knowledge for the midwife who was helping, that there would be untangling of the umbilical cord, that there would be doctors available if needed. I prayed that you and your mommy would both be safe and healthy all through your delivery. I thanked God for the strong faith and trust in Him that I know your mommy and daddy already have, and I prayed that He would make it even stronger.
All through this time that I was praying, my spirit was telling me that I was praying for a boy. And whenever I came to a part where I wanted to say "he" or "him" my spirit said "Daniel". So I asked God, "Why Daniel?" God told me to look at the list of Daniel's attributes, or at his character. He was a man of God and in him there was no wavering from what he knew was right-whether it was kind of food he would eat, or to whom he would pray. He had incredibly strong faith. He was a man of prayer. He was a man of deep integrity. He had no fear of man, only a holy fear of God. He knew that God was in control at all times, even when things got really tough. The name "Daniel" means "God is my judge." That sums up who Daniel in the Bible really was - he had no fear of what man could do to him, he lived only by what he knew was right according to God.
I believe strongly that God was telling me that you have character of "Daniel" inside of you, you will be a mighty man of God.
That very afternoon, your sister Jennifer called to say you had come into our world and that it was by emergency c-section. I'm afraid I may owe her an apology for interrupting her with my own questions: "When did she go into labour?" "What's his name?" Sorry Jen :)
That's the story of how I know that "Even before you were born, God knew you and had a plan for your life." (my own, loose translation:), and that you are a very special boy. A picture that God has put in my spirit is one of you having already faced a lion's den. God was with you, He closed the lion's mouths, and you were born healthy, strong and handsome. How great is our God!
My prayer for you is that "You will grow in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man" (Luke 2:52) just like Jesus did when he was a boy. And that "the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. AMEN." Hebrews 13:20-21

January 27, 2009

I Can Dream....

As Mark and I were laying in bed this morning we were listening to the hustle and bustle of our household. Mark said with remorse, “Won’t it be different when one day our house is quiet.” To this I quickly replied, “It won’t be!” Well I can always dream can’t I? I can dream that because we have so many children we will always have a trickle of them flowing through our home. I can dream that we will all live together on our farm and work side by side forever. I can dream that we will have oodles of grandchildren that will need to be babysat…….I can dream!?!? But the fact is that someday our house may be quiet. Right now it seems quite unbelievable as I lay there and listen. Music playing, someone singing along, kids scrambling to get the dog to come out of the house, the clanging of spoons in the breakfast bowls, the baby crying, the toddler jabbering away…….anything but quiet. But this is our life…..and we love it. I will be honest…there are times when the ‘commotion’ gets to me. We keep our kids in close proximity most of the time. When they play, they are practically underfoot. Even though we have a playroom downstairs we choose this so that we can deal first hand with the many ‘issues’ that come up during playtime. Makes for lots of training opportunities. So yes, our household can get quite loud. In fact it was just yesterday when I told Jesse who was talking rather loudly, “Jesse could you please turn it down a few decibels?” To which he responded by making his voice into a low growl. Not quite what I was meaning but hey, it was quieter:) And granted there are times when I can't stand the noise anymore and shout out,"OK everyone, time to sit and read a book!" Realistically we will have hustle and bustle in our house for a good many years. Realistically time flies by really fast. It seems like not that long ago Joshua was little, but next month he is getting married. It seems like yesterday when I was wondering what it would be like to have 4 teenagers in our home. Today I don’t have to wonder, it is a reality. I don’t want to wish these moments away. I don’t want to shush the noise so I can have my peace and quiet. I want to savor these moments. I want them to be a fond memory in the pages of my life. I want to look back someday and know that I was not annoyed by the constant commotion, but rather that I enjoyed it to the fullest.
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Psalm 98:4

January 26, 2009

Memories Monday

Since I really feel like complaining about the cold weather we've been having this winter, I thought I would remind myself that it could be worse. Here are some photos of the April 1997 blizzard that lasted three days and dumped lots and lots of snow (some reports say over 50cms)

Here you can tell by the combine and trees how high the snow drifts were.

We literally had to dig the cows out of the barn because the openings were snowed shut.
We were very blessed that our barn held up as some people lost their animals because the roofs caved in from the heavy snow.
Another view of a huge snow drift.
So if you live in Manitoba and remember this storm, lived through it and have a story to share, leave a comment and tell us about it :)
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January 24, 2009

Great Expectations

Through the last couple weeks God has been speaking to me about ‘my’ expectations. Especially through the birth of Josiah and the days that have followed. Josiah’s birth was really as far from the way I had expected it than any birth I have experienced so far. Going from a home birth plan to having to have an emergency c-section was not quite in our plans. But thankfully God doesn’t fulfill His plan according to my expectations. Because Josiah might not be with us today if things had went according to those. If I had went into labor when I expected I should have: I wouldn’t have had an ultrasound, I wouldn’t have been in the hospital to be induced, and I wouldn’t have been on the monitor when Josiah’s heart rate fell (in fact at the time I was inwardly grumbling about having to be on it at all). But God knew all these things. And am I ever glad that He was in control instead of me. Another thing that has made me let go of my expectations since coming home with Josiah is a simple thing like nursing my baby. Ever since Jennifer I have had issues with having enough milk to make our babies grow. Over the years I have learned different things that have helped a little, and every time we have another baby I am sure that this time ‘it will work!’ This time was no exception. ‘I’ had it all figured out. Well guess what! Things didn’t go as I expected! Josiah started to lose weight, we recognized the all too familiar pattern. I started to pump and feed my milk to him plus nurse and he gained. The only problem is that he decided that it was easier to drink the supplement than to nurse from me. This has not happened to me since Megan. I have been able to supplement and still nurse. But at this point Josiah seems to want to have nothing to do with my plan! So once again my expectations have not happened. And I had to work at not letting this get me down. To learn to trust that for whatever reason, this is the way God allowed it to be. EXPECTATIONS. Then I started to think about the many times that I have ‘my’ expectations in life. And how many times I have gotten frustrated when things haven’t gone according to my plan. But as in the case of Josiah’s birth, I only see such a small part of the big picture. But God sees it all from beginning to end. He knows what is best and why. I am not saying it is bad to have dreams and goals. But in my dreams and goals I need to understand that I don’t see it all. I need to be able to go with God when He changes the route and He orders a detour. I need to trust Him even when things don’t go according to the way I expected them to. Have you ever used a GPS? We have appreciated it many times when navigating through a city. It tells which way to turn, what lane to get into, lets you know where there are detours and construction and even tells you when you are off route. And we trust it to take us where we want to go. And this is the way I need to trust my ‘God Positioning System’. Not to question His directive promptings, but to know that He will bring me on the route that is best for me. This is the Psalm my mom felt she was to pray for us in the day’s that we were waiting for Josiah’s birth. I am so glad that He directed our path.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
Your rod and your staff,
they comfort me. You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

January 21, 2009

Baby Photo's

People have been asking who Josiah looks like.
It seems like every time I look at him I think something different.
So I thought why not bring it to the blogging world. What do you think?
Who does Josiah look like?

Click here to see a larger view

January 19, 2009

Got Milk?

Here is a photo walk through our milking routine.
Right now we are milking 2 cows, Sally and Popeye. They are Jersey cows.
Meet Sally

Meet Popeye (affectionately named because her eyes look like they are going to pop out of her head!

First thing we do when we get the cow in the barn is wash their udder. Then we put the milking machine on their teets Which pumps the milk into the metal pail After we are done milking we dip their teets in iodine to prevent infection Here is the foamy white stuff We get about 1 gallon from Sally and 2 gallons from Popeye per milking
Putting the straining cloths on the pails

Straining the milk

After all is strained we wash out the milking machine.

This whole process takes about 1 hour. Make your mouth water? Nothing is better than fresh milk (after it's cooled off of course)
We drink lots of milk (close to 2 gallons a day) but we also make yogurt, puddings, butter, and many other yummy milk recipes.
So there you have it, our day in milking.

January 17, 2009

Josiah at 1 Week

Just so you voters know.... Josiah's hair is light brown. He does have very light eyebrows, so I don't expect his hair to stay this color.

January 16, 2009

Rise Up and Call Her Blessed

I feel so blessed. Of course I understand that having a new baby can make one feel this way. But it isn't just the baby, it's the way everyone has pitched in around here to help out since Josiah has joined our family.
I know I have mentioned here before on the blog about how important it is to teach your children to help out around the home, but I think it deserves repeating.
This is to all you moms out there with younger children. It is so important for you to include your little ones in the daily tasks of keeping a home. I know there are times when it seems easier and faster to do it yourself, but I am here to testify that you will bear good fruit if you persevere. I know, I've been there, and it wasn't always easy. Many times I had to turn my head at a job not perfectly done, or a meal not perfectly baked, or a kitchen not perfectly clean, or laundry all perfectly done. But today I stand here a witness and say that it has all truly been worth it. Our older girls especially have been running a smooth household. I haven't had to lift a finger since I got home, I haven't even had to give advice. The three of them are working together and tackling the tasks before them like it is normal life. And really to them it is. They have been trained to do it all and to have a servant's heart while doing it. And it has been such a blessing for me to see them work in harmony. And to top it all off, they have been taking turns in the night to take Josiah when he is fed and cuddle him so I can get my rest. I feel blessed.
Moms sometimes say to me, 'You're so lucky to have your girls to help you.' Well it isn't a matter of luck, it's a matter of training. And you can reap this too someday if you sow it today:)
A huge thank you to 'my girls' for all the help, rest and peace of mind they have given me over the past few days. I love you all more than you'll ever know :)
Her children arise up, and call her blessed. Prov. 31:28

January 14, 2009

Josiah's BIrth Story

The last few days have been a roller coaster of events, but looking back now we see how God's hand has been in it all. I'll start with the days of waiting. Every day we thought this would be the day, some days there were more signs than others. But there were signs, and yet we would go to bed each night and things would not progress. We were in almost daily contact with my midwife over the last few days and we were all wondering why things were not moving forward. It seemed Josiah's head just would not come down. Seemed like his head was stuck in an awkward position (which we found out later to be true). So our midwife suggested several things to get things 'into position' but none of them were working. And now we know why :) Over these few waiting days we kept saying how God's timing was perfect, and we realized again how absolutely true that is. Finally on the morning of January 8th (Mark's birthday) I went for an ultrasound appointment to make sure baby was OK. After the ultrasound I went to see my midwife and she checked me to find that things had changed a little, so maybe "this would be the day!" Mark and I went out for lunch when my midwife called and said that the ultrasound showed that I was low on amniotic fluid so she consulted a doctor and she had said I should come in right away to the hospital and get labor going. At this point I was a little frustrated, as this is not the way 'I' wanted things to go. But Mark and I talked it through and felt that this was the best thing at this point. When we got to the hospital they hooked me up to the monitor and a short while later the doctor came in to rupture my membranes. She wasn't sure if it had worked because it was hard to reach and because the amniotic fluid was low, she couldn't tell. So she said she would check back in a couple of hours and see how things were progressing. By then my midwives had arrived and we kind of all just sat there and looked at each other and joked how we should have brought some cards or something so we could play a game! My midwife was looking at the monitor and the print out of his heartbeat and had just said how healthy he looked. No sooner had those words come out of her mouth that the heartbeat went way low. Thinking that the baby had moved positions and that it was just picking up my pulse, they tried to find the heartbeat again. After realizing that it still wasn't working, she called in the nurse. The nurse got me to move different positions, but still the heartbeat stayed low. She got my midwife to check if the cord was coming first, it wasn't. They called in the doctor who put a monitor on baby's head to get the heart beat that way. The heart beat which was before from 120-145 was now 50-104. And from there everything went fast forward. Everyone was telling me to do this and that, hands and knees, side to side and finally the doctor said that I needed to have a c-section. Within what seemed a couple of minutes I was signing papers, drinking 'something' (I later found out was for nausea) and was whisked off to the OR. As I looked up at the ceiling I thought 'This is just like a movie. Am I really living this?' I felt bad for Mark that he couldn't come in the room because they were putting me right out. After getting in the operating room there was a person on every side of me doing 'something'. And then they put me to sleep. I looked at the time and it was 2:45 p.m. He was born at 2:55 p.m. I was dreaming nicely and then woke up to excruciating pain in my stomach. The nurse told me that I had a baby boy. It took me a little while to get my bearings. And then it all came back. My baby was out. At that point I was shaking uncontrollably because of the pain until the morphine kicked in. They asked me if I wanted to see my baby. Of course I said yes. A couple minutes later Mark walked in with him. I looked at Mark and gave a feeble 'Happy Birthday' and then kissed and kissed my baby boy. I was too emotional to speak, so I just kissed as it sunk in that he was a little miracle that we were very close to losing. The nurse later told us that when they took Josiah out and he was crying they gave a cheer. They also mentioned how amazing it was that everyone that was needed to do the surgery was right there and that both operating rooms were empty at the time. I should also have been off the monitor the time the heartbeat went down, but for 'some reason' I was on longer. We all know why! Josiah and I are doing great. I had to stay in the hospital a day longer because my blood pressure is up. They put me on medication and hopefully it settles down on its own. I am so glad to be back home with our family.

January 12, 2009

We're Home!

Mom will try to update soon..... but in the meantime here are some more pictures

Jan. 8th "A few minutes old"

Jan. 9th "Does it get any sweeter?"

Jan. 9th "Nate meeting his new brother."

Jan 11th "It's been a long day."

Jan. 12th "Happy to be Home:)"

January 9, 2009

More news

Our little miracle has been named Josiah James Daniel. Mom has no internet access at the hospital. We will get pictures and the story to you as soon as possible. p.s. Josiah has brown hair.

January 8, 2009

It's A Boy!!!!!!

Well he is finally here. Haven't decided the name yet. He was born via emergency c-section this afternoon at 2:55pm 7lb 6 1/2 oz and 20 inches long Mom and the baby are doing fine. There will be pictures of our sweet little guy tomorow:) Ps. Happy Birthday DAD I'm sure this is the best birthday present that you've ever gotten, and a day that you will never forget :) More details to come.

January 5, 2009

New Year's Resolution

I had given up on New Year's Resolutions many years ago. For me they just don't work! But this year I have one. LOOSE AT LEAST 10 POUNDS IN 1 DAY :) Maybe today?

January 1, 2009

Happy New Year From Our House To Yours

May God make your year a happy one!
Not by shielding you from all sorrows and pain
But by strengthening you to bear it, as it comes
Not by making your path easy
But by making you sturdy to travel any path
Not by taking hardships from you
But by taking fear from your heart
Not by granting you unbroken sunshine
But by keeping your face bright,
even in the shadows
Not by making your life always pleasant
But by showing you
when people and their causes need you most
and by making you anxious to be there to help.
God’s love, peace, hope and joy
to you for the year ahead.
New Year’s Prayer
Heavenly Father,
for this coming year just one request I bring. I do not pray for happiness or any earthly thing.
I do not ask to understand the way you lead me
But this I ask—
teach me to do the thing that pleases You.
I want to know Your guiding voice,
to walk with you each day. Heavenly Father,
make me swift to hear and ready to obey.
And thus the year I now begin
a happy year will be, If I am seeking just to do
the thing that pleases You.