Monday, October 29, 2012

June Happenings

My sis-in-law and I were able to meet Ann Voskamp when she came to Nashville. Her blog, A Holy Experience, is my favorite blog and I've probably given away ten copies of her book, One Thousand Gifts.  It was life-changing for me.   
Jolly loves to carry a bag around.  You can also see other popular items in this picture: a sword and an empty Dunkin' Donuts box.  We made a donut breakfast casserole, but decided we like plain donuts best.
Here is one of the first batches of blackberries we harvested.  This job is best done in the early morning while wearing long-sleeve pajamas and rain boots.  We had a GREAT harvest this year!  They came in early and were delicious!  A few weeks of drought destroyed the main crop, but our initial harvest was quite bountiful!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Little Stinker

This little stinker has figured out how to manipulate the kitchen chairs.  If any food is left unattended on the counter, she will get her little hands on it.  Her favorite find is a stick of thawing butter.  Always in varying stages of squishiness, she just can't keep those paws away.  Good thing she is cute!

The Saga Begins

We returned home from Pennsylvania to a note from our friend who house-sat for us. "Also...I don't know if you know this, but you have fleas in your house.  I particularly noticed them in the living room."  I was super embarrassed!  (What kind of friend makes someone stay in a flea-filled house?)  I set off flea bombs the very next day.  Six flea bombs, actually.  I was hoping to rid our house of these bugs once and for all.  Little did I know that this was just the very beginning of my {extreme, intense, maddening} battle with the fleas. 

On a happier note, everyone knew about New Baby now!  In this picture, New Baby is just the size of an apple.  God blessed me with very little nausea.  I was taking morning and afternoon naps most days~:-)  You know how you can't control yourself that first trimester and you just fall asleep everywhere?  Well, I was always falling asleep while reading to the kids.  Haven and Elijah started getting annoyed.  "Mom?  Mom???  Are you going to sleep again?"

Elijah Millard

I love, love, love this boy!  He is growing by leaps and bounds in every way.  This little man is a thinker.  He asks us a lot of hard questions all the time. 
"Why did God not kill Satan?" 
"What world do we live in?  Is this real?"
"Why can't I remember that number?!?!"
I refer to Daddy a lot~;-)  {I also blame Eric for all these questions.  "Why do you keep making up other worlds in all your stories?  Now Elijah doesn't know which world is real!"}
Elijah is - by far - the biggest help around the house.  He can carry things to the car or to building three; he can take out the bathroom trash; he is primary caretaker for all the animals.  (He has Haven in training for chicken duty, though!)  He'll usually buckle the girls in their carseats and then run back in - "Can I help you do anything, Momma?"

We picked up this fun magnet set at a garage sale; Elijah loves doing it!  Haven places the magnets on the sheet; Elijah just duplicates the picture on the sheet.  He usually requires just a bit of showing before I hear, "OK.  OK!  I've got it!"
The most wonderful thing about Elijah right now is that he is learning to really love his sisters.  They both adore him and he can usually calm them down quicker than anyone else.  He has even figured out how to incorporate princesses into his "bad guy" games, ensuring he has two willing playmates. 

6.4.2012 & 6.5.2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ice Cream (Overload)

One of the fun things about this beach was that it was just a little island town. i don't think they even accepted credit cards! We found a few fun, local places to eat.  Here I am enjoying Carolina-style barbecue and some hush puppies.

We got ice cream after dinner; they had their own special form of a blizzard.  The best part was smelling the waffle cones they were making right behind the counter. 

Eric is a bit generous on giving the children treats.  That is how Polly Jane ended up with her own ice cream. 
She went a little nutso...
...and finished off her sibling's ice cream as well as her own.
These are the best pictures I got of all the kids. 

I'm pretty sure at least two of my children had breakdowns on the way to the car, which was parked approximately three car-lengths from the ice cream shop.  I temporarily lost a child while we were eating ice cream.  The kids almost knocked several other customers over while sprinting up and down the handicapped ramp.  We created a scene with all the napkins we used; napkins which we had to ask for individually because they didn't let you dispense your own.  It was a little stressful.

The blurry, no-one-is-really-looking picture above is so fun though!  Those kids had a good time!  Thankfully, Eric pushes me to do stressful things which create fun memories for the children.  If it weren't for him, our only fun activity might be reading.  (Or napping.....)



Flying a gigantic kite:
Jumping waves with this water baby:
Digging and Dumping (and watching Jason build an awesome sandcastle):
Sleeping in the sand:
We rented this extremely child-friendly house.  The yard was all fenced in and full of wonderful playthings - games, toys, a treehouse.  It was fantastic!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Polly Jane's 1st Beach Trip

We left Pennsylvania with much angst. How could I leave for a fun time at the beach when my grandparents are all alone? We decided to follow through with our original plans and headed to a beach house with our dear friends.

We ran the kids down to the ocean as soon as we arrived. What a fun, fun beach experience we had! Polly Jane LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the water. She kept wanting to dive in by herself! Every time she was slammed by a wave she would come up saying "More! More!" That is a crazy, crazy water baby I have. (Holla if you've seen her in action in the bathtub!)

{These pictures are a hodge-podge of dates, I believe.  At least, I don't remember Haven spending the whole day in her nightgown.}

Sweet friends.
We went to the boardwalk one evening and had a great time.  Eric and Jason were perhaps most excited about the arcade.   It was a little crazy for me, but the kid's were mesmerized by all the lights.
We left the overstimulation of the arcade and fed everyone sugar.
Apparently, we thought it wise to give the girls adult-size portions of ice cream.  This decision was made after we let Elijah add "Superman" color and flavor to his huge ice cream cone. 
We watched a great fireworks display and then rode the carousel.

We picked up a dozen made-in-front-of-you donuts because we had a long night of work ahead of us.  Everyone sat around and helped while I got our little Baby #4 announcement cards ready.  We stuck those in the mail the next day and then headed back to the beach.


Our Last Visit with Grandpa Millard

This visit with Grandma and Grandpa would have been impossible without Eric. I spent most of my time at the hospital, eating with Grandma, and driving Grandma to and from the hospital. Eric pretty much took sole care of the children, even coordinating a quick meal of cereal in Gigi's apartment while I was at the hospital. Single-handedly corralling three children in an apartment full of breakables is not a task for the faint of heart, but Eric did it successfully. He was a superhero. I'm so thankful for the precious hours I was able to spend with Grandpa because of Eric's servant-like behavior. Our time in Pennsylvania was no "vacation", but I didn't want to be anywhere else.

Eric's superhero skills involved a little of this:

We took the children back to the hospital one last time to say goodbye to Grandpa Millard.  As it turns out, it was goodbye for good.  We never saw him again. 
Oh, friends!  How patients need an advocate!!!  Grandma fought with the nurse and the ER doctor to get treatment for Grandpa.  I fought to get mouth swabs.  I fought to get a temperature taken.  I fought to get an x-ray done.  We fought for very minimal care.  My Dad and Uncle fought for hydration.  Water!  We had to fight for water!

As image-bearers of the one true God we all have worth.  Each life, at every stage of life, is valuable.  At that value isn't on a sliding scale; value is inherent simply because humans are made in the image of God.  {So fight for your loved ones!  Fight for people to be treated with much dignity, to be honored until God decides their days are ended.}

Grandpa's life was well-lived and filled with many praiseworthy things.  I am still very much mourning his absence.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

Grandpa and I took a late night ride to the Emergency Room the day after we arrived.  He was severely dehydrated and had another case of pneumonia.  I spent Memorial Day swabbing his mouth.  I've never, ever been so happy to give someone water.  I told Grandpa about the new baby growing inside me.  He smiled.

Eric took the children to a Memorial Day Parade in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. They were sent with many snacks and a stroller. Elijah especially enjoyed it since soldiers were there. 

Later, the chidren came in to visit with Gigi.  I love this picture of Haven with her namesake.

Grandma was wearing her well-worn Keds.  They have a ridiculous amount of holes in them, but she insists they are still holding up.  She thought I was sitting in front of her feet to cover the holes in her shoes~:-)  Don't worry, she's got an identical pair to wear when she "goes out."

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Drive

We spent the night with my sister and her crew. This time no one threw up or developed pinkeye during our stay. It was...nice. (Have we told you the story of driving 8 hours while puking? You probably want to hear that one.)

Eric, Elijah, and Bella bonded over some Dr. Suess stories.
Haven got her hands on Bella's best dress up supplies and happily entertained herself by scattering play food all over the kitchen.  It was so fun to be at Ab's house - even though our visit was super short.  She made tons of food for us; I was very happy~:-)
Look at this custard shack!  How can you not stop?  We ran a lot of races beside the parking lot then jumped back in the car to complete the trip to Myerstown, PA.

Telling the Children

On the way to Pennsylvania, we told the children that God had given us a New Baby!  Here are their reactions. 

Excuse my man voice (it was early, all right?) and Polly Jane picking her nose.
Elijah:  "Whippee!  We get to have TWO babies!  That means Mombo can come!"
Polly Jane: {continues to leave finger in nose}
Haven:  "Hey!  What baby's name can be?"

Then I gave the kids their new Big Brother/Big Sister shirts, they got dressed in the car, and we rolled into Cracker Barrel where we blessed our waitress with a low-maintenance table. 

Look at this Big Sister!!!  Isn't she lovely?