Friday, January 10, 2014

Welcome to Our World, Little Zeke Man!




Ezekiel Elliot 
December 15, 2013 at 5:34
7 pounds, 8 ounces and 19 inches

Monday, November 25, 2013

My Ezekiel Boy...

Baby Zeke, you came like a little whisper when I least expected you.  My pregnancy with you has been such a busy time for our family with so many changes occuring.  And, now here we are at the end.  You are getting so big, moving so, so much.  You fill my belly, and you fill my heart.  That God would choose to give you to us!  We are overwhelmed at the thought!  He is the Giver of all good gifts, and we cannot wait to meet you.  Every night when I go to sleep before I roll over on my side, I lie on my back for just a moment.  I place my hands on my belly, feel you move, and pray for you and for me and for us.  I love you, my little one.  I cannot wait to meet you.  I mean really who wouldn't be excited about meeting this little one....


I've had a lot of sonograms, and I have never ever seen one of my babies smile in utero before!  Are you a happy little guy?  I am assuming yes, but I can't wait to meet you and find out for myself!  

I am beginning to feel signs that the time for your arrival is nearing.  I love this.  I have loved carrying you, feeling you, holding my belly, rubbing you through my skin, dreaming about you.  My newest love, the doctor says whenever you are ready, he will not stop you from coming.  Godspeed and know that you are sooooo loved.  We cannot wait to pour our love all over your sweet little self.  

Thanking my sweet God for you,

Your mommy :-)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Daily...

These are random pictures from our busy fall...  I was very pregnant and very busy, thus the blog was not kept up with.  Now I am attempting to quickly post pictures and make up for lost time...

My little professor...


These two make my day, every single day!


I looked at the swingset one day and saw this sight ~ all my boys playing.  I can't help wondering how much longer I will see this.  How much longer before they will be too old to play like this.  We are getting close.  Imaginative play is taking a backseat these days to sports.  But, every so often they still cut loose and just play like kids again, and this was one of those days!


Love her!


For Halloween James wanted to be his Daddy...


She is getting so pretty...


He can destroy a room in less than five seconds. Amazing.


My little reader...


My gratitude journal!  I hit 1000 recently!


The pond covered in leaves.


Holding hands...


Sunday afternoon naps and football...


Pop loves her...


Hot chocolate on a cold morning...


They find some strange places to do their morning "alone" work...


Growing up!


Friday, November 01, 2013

Our Rain.


I often tell people that Erik has had Rain longer than he has had me.  He bought Rain while we were dating, a year before we married.  It is another reason why I do not recognize my life lately.  Rain has always been a part of our married life.  Walking him in front of the house at night, those were our catch up times ~ when we would talk about our day and reconnect after the kids were tucked in, and it was just us again.  Walking him at noon, was my time to breathe midday, to take in a breath of fresh air and be quiet for a moment.  He has been our routine, part of daily rhythm for as long as we have been us.

As our marriage has grown, as our family has grown, as we have moved and breathed and lived in this home that God has made out of the two of us, Rain has been there, growing old alongside us.  A quiet partner, somedays we hardly took notice of him.  Other days his incessant barking, has been the straw that broke this stressed, tired mama's back.  The runs with him at Ridge Ferry Park in Rome, GA when he was a sideways running puppy whose back legs often got ahead of his front legs.  And, then he moved with us to St. Pete, and we ran by the bay where we watched the dolphins jump and play as we put in our daily miles, our little fit family of three ~ Erik, Rain, and me.  Then, we moved him to the country.  7 acres for our dog to run and play on, Canadian geese to chase and aggravate and eventually scare away from our pond.  

And, then we started bringing them home, baby after baby.  We used to laugh and pretend in our best imitation Rain voice, "Not another one! You're killing me!  Enough already!" But, he handled them with grace.  Never, even in his old age, did he get aggressive with them.  We lived day in and day out with Rain moving among us.  We would do school, and he would hide under the schoolroom table when the storms rolled in.  He would walk through the room, and I would pet him without really even being aware of it, so just a part of life.  Those floppy grey ears, the noise they made when he shook his head.  The way I would cringe when anyone knocked on the door because I knew the earth shaking bark that would follow.  He was just such a part of us.

Fifteen and one half years old.  With us from puppy to old dog.  And, now he is gone, and we are learning the new normal of life without our sweet grey friend.  The house in a strange way feels a little empty without him.  I miss my sweet grey vacuum cleaner when Emery dumps her cake on the floor after dinner.  And, there is no one to pass the bad parts of the chicken off to....  At times, I even miss his bark which used to unnerve me completely.  Oh, Boo, we miss you.

Over the last 3 months, we have watched him slowly decline.  But, the last month was a quick downturn.  About a week before he left us, I told the kids that it wouldn't be long.  I tried to prepare them for what was becoming obviously undeniable.  And, they had not known life without him. One day after we finished our morning schoolwork I told them, that we were going to go out and take some pictures with Rain because we didn't know how long we would have him with us.  This was our little photo shoot...

With Jack...


Emery...


Lije...


Eriky...


Josh...


James...


Even one with Zeke...


Just some scattered random shots...


He began to lose the ability to use his back legs.  The last weeks Erik and I had to become his back legs.  We made a bed for him in the foyer where he could just walk out the front door, use the restroom, and then walk back to his bed.  We would hold his hips and walk hovering over him.  He started having accidents more often, and he slowly quit eating, and we knew that our time with him was nearing its end.  I would teach the boys and walk by him periodically throughout the day to make sure he was still with us.  Those last weeks were treasures to me.  The nurse in me loved caring for him.  I got to give him dry shampoo baths and massage his soft grey fur.  It was a joy to be his back legs for him.  I really enjoyed taking care of him, helping him, bringing him water when he barked for it.  We fell into a little routine, and it worked for us, and as long as he wasn't in pain, I was committed to taking care of him as long as he lingered.


I began to pray that we wouldn't have to put him to sleep that he would go on his own here at home.  And, God was so gracious.  He granted me this and so much more.  Not only did he pass here at home, but God allowed me the privilege of being with him while he passed.


His breathing began to change the day he passed, and I was almost certain that it was about time.  It was late Tuesday night, October 22nd.  Erik was leading college Bible study.  Josh was with him and James was home with me.  The younger four were all asleep.  I took him out to do his job on the front lawn.  He lay down out there in front of the house, and I knew he wasn't going to get up.  So, I pet him and watched him slowly fade away, our sweet grey buddy.


We buried him that night under a full moon and a sky full of stars.  I will never forget Erik digging the grave while our oldest two sons held flashlights for him.  We spoke words over him, and we silkied those sweet grey ears one last time, and then we lay our little friend to rest.


The next few days were really hard.  Harder than I ever thought they would be.  But, we have lots of kids and lots of busyness, and that can be a good thing when you have to deal with loss.  Jen and the cousins brought us flowers and homemade cards.  And, one of our sweet neighbors picked flowers from her yard and lay them on Rain's grave.


We live in a dog friendly neighborhood, so the compassion our neighbors showed us made me teary.


I used to think that people who cried silly over pets were a bit off.  I had no idea how much this loss would hurt.  He truly was a member of our family.  We will never forget Rain, and we will never replace him.  He was Erik and my first baby.  His puppy stage helped prepare us for raising children.  He was a part of us, and we will miss him.  James asked me if we would see Rain in heaven.  I said that I didn't know for sure, but knowing God, I think he might just let us silky those grey ears again.

Catch Up Post!

Wow.  It is hard to start back when I've been away so long.  So much life has happened in the last 6 months, and I am almost sure that I haven't really posted about the happenings of our life in at least 6 months.  This is my family's scrapbook, so I have to get back to posting our life.  And, how do I begin?  Where do I start?

I have on more than one occasion told my mother that I do not even recognize my life anymore.  So many things have changed.  We haven't moved.  We live on the same 7 acres that we have for the past 12 years, but slowly over the past months, little by little, life all around our 7 acres has changed dramatically.  Our world which always felt very full and blessed has grown richer and fuller with the addition of family moving near.

Erik's brother is now our pastor.  Surreal even to type it.  He took the job three months ago, and it is still like a dream.  A month or so ago I had to take something by the church office in the middle of the day, and I ran in quickly not thinking much about anything except that I had to drop off a check and a vase and get back to my van full of kiddos.  I opened the door to the office and began talking to our church secretary, and he walked around the corner, sleeves rolled up, all smiles, and said, "Well, hey!" Just like this was normal!  It felt so surreal to see him there in what is now his office, me standing there talking to his secretary.  Crazy!!!  I walked out shaking my head in disbelief.

It all began nearly a year ago when I began to hear the whispers, and they came for a visit.  And, I told Erik he was CRAZY.  Stop the nonsense.  This was not happening.  And, then the craziest thing happened.  Erik came home from a meeting all alight with God all over him, undeniable.  And, he began to talk, and as he did he used his hands.  And, all I remember is something about this huge amazing God Who raises up kings and nations and rulers, but yet cares deeply about our little small town church.  And, then he raised his hand up and pushed it down while saying these words I'll never forget, "God is a powerful FORCE."  And, when he said the word FORCE I felt Him move in me, stirring something.  And, I was captivated.  It was at that moment that I became a believer ~ maybe God was calling my brother in love here.  Wow.  And, then watching the Spirit move and stir in my Jen.  It was all so real. So untouched by us.  So Him.  All Him.


And, they are here.  We lived communally for 6 weeks, I believe it was.  We did some school together, but mostly we played together.  And, thankfully, we didn't get the stomach virus while we lived 16 people under one roof.  That was my secret fear, but we made it!! 16 people and one washer and dryer ~ it went amazingly well!  Jen and I got into a rhythm and stayed on top of things for the most part!


Now they are in their home, and we are in ours.  We are awaiting a baby, and they are settling in and learning a new way of life.  We meet together on Fridays for Erik and Jason to teach the kids together.  Erik teaches Anatomy, and Jason teaches writing.  On Tuesdays, Pop (who also moved here and makes our lives so very rich!!!) teaches Latin.  It all works smoothly, and we are having a wonderful school year.


 I have so much more to say!  But, this is a first installment.  More, more, more to come!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pumpkin Patch!

This was such a fun outing with the fam!  Pop and Em...


Emery and Laura...


Lije...








My sweet nephew Noah...










Knocked out...


My Photo
Hi! I live in a sweet country home overflowing with love, laughter, and little ones. I have been blessed to journey these days beside a man that I love, respect, and admire. He is my soul-mate and best friend. Together we are seeking to raise our seven children to be lovers of God, to be wise and discerning, and to be all that our sweet God created them to be. I am in the goldfish and cheerio stage of life, but I am keenly aware that these days are slipping right through my hands. This blog is my attempt to keep our memories safe for years to come.

 

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