Overwhelmed and Excited

Guys, I have so much going on these days. Sometimes it feels overwhelming, but oftentimes I find myself just excited about what God is doing in my life.
img_20170201_121024694

Playtime with reflux

Little Man had his 2-month appointment yesterday. He is a thriving, growing boy. At 12lbs12oz he has already gained 5lbs5oz from his birth weight. He has reflux. He DOESN’T have a food allergy. After a month of dairy free living, I’ve been eating dairy all week with no reaction!!! I still have an oversupply but we’re managing it. The oversupply is likely what caused the allergy-like symptoms which led me to eliminate dairy and soy from my diet. He probably has a tongue tie, it is visible, but it’s not to the point that movement is restricted, and clearly he doesn’t have a transfer issue, so we’ll let it be for now. I was reminded once again how much I LOVE my pediatrician. She is a real human being and talks with me like I’m a thinking human being too.

His baptism is this Sunday. This is such a special time for our family as we make a public commitment to teach him about God’s love, raise him in the community of believers, and pray for him as he grows. As an infant this is a covenant baptism, recognizing that we belong to Christ even before we understand it. When he is older he will be able to go through confirmation class and make his own public affirmation of faith. But because he’s so huge, I need to do a small alteration of the baptism outfit that was worn by his Papa and uncle, and made from his great-grandfather’s wedding shirt. The alteration will be a simple crotch extender, so it won’t impact the existing garment.
Littles Monster and Miss are in preschool three times a week and love it. They come home with new songs all the time. They have stories to tell about school. I can see leaps and bounds in their development. Little Monster is also in speech therapy (aka talking school) and will begin OT next week. I am so thankful that we can provide her with the help that she needs so that she can succeed. We are working to help her as much as possible NOW, before she begins VPK. She is so receptive to the help and wants to be understood.
img_20170124_141532

The best part of baking

 I feel like I’m constantly dealing with health insurance. I was on the phone with the marketplace for 1hr15min on Monday to update our information and switch policies again (I accidentally selected a policy this year that our pediatrician wasn’t covered under. OOPS!!) While insurance always seems to be a nightmare for me, I am SO THANKFUL that we have it. I just hope we can continue to have insurance.
I am always working on too little sleep, not enough patience, and a whole lot of prayer.
My mom and I wrote a children’s book last spring titled The New Baby Went to Heaven. We had a contract with a publishing company. We got through the editing stage, but no further. We learned last week that they suddenly closed their doors. I know that this will be a blessing. We are starting to explore new avenues to get our book published. I’m also excited about the second book we wrote, and two new inspired works that I’ll be working on this year.
faith-elisabethb

Sweet Baby Faith

Already we have been blessed by another author who also happens to work with NILMDTS, and edited our picture of baby Faith into a beautiful keepsake where she actually looks like the peaceful baby that I so briefly held in my arms instead of the stillborn baby under flourescent lighting. I was so thankful that the hospital took pictures of her, but wished for better quality. One of my regrets was that we didn’t take our own pictures of her while I held her. So this is an amazing gift as we approach her one-year stillbirthday. I now have a picture I can show my living children of their sister that we lost too soon.

The women’s community Bible study started up again last week and I’m loving the new study of 1 Peter, and the fellowship with these amazing women as we learn and grow together. I have never done a study like this – a study on how to really study the Bible. It has been so enriching in just the first week!
I have not been as active on my blog as I would like. I have so many thoughts, but then never get it on screen.
img_20170122_091646755

Lending Library pretties to play with

I continue to volunteer with our local babywearing chapter. I love having another outlet for my writing as I help with the blog (even though I’ve totally slacked on this lately!). This group has meant so much to me. From them I learned how to wear Little Miss with confidence so that I could care for both her and Little Monster when she was little. I have gained so many friendships through the group. They were a huge help to me when we lost baby Faith. They have continued to support me in my mommyhood journey. The group is constantly evolving as people move away or babies grow out of wearing, but the friendships remain.

The farm continues on. We are going to be adding chickens soon, once we can make the time to build the chicken tractor. I’m excited about the future of our farm. I’m excited to be good stewards of the land and animals that we have been blessed with. I learn something everyday!

Continue reading

Slowly Moving into the New Year

IMG_20141120_071400871_HDR.jpg

We’re a week into January and I’m finally starting to look to the new year and make some goals. This is pretty typical for me though. I have a January birthday, so I always give myself a little extra time to ‘debrief’ from the previous year before moving into the new one. Especially this year – 2016 was extra… eventful. I hadn’t planned it, but the themes of 2016 ended up being community, thankfulness, and family. My Bible verse for the year was Jeremiah 29:11-13, “‘For I know the Plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you….'”

This year I am ready to get back to work. I’m ready to feel empowered again by my work on the farm and in the house. My goals have been floating around in my head for the past month, but they’re not real until I put them on paper. I have found myself this past week sitting around, not really knowing what to do next, because I haven’t had a good to do list, because I haven’t decided how to move forward with purpose. So yesterday I pulled out my journal and started writing.

This year’s scripture is looking like it will be 1 Corinthians 13, the Love Chapter. This was our wedding scripture and has recently taken on meaning for more than just the love of my spouse. I’ll share more in another post, which is about half-drafted. For now, let’s just focus on verse 13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” In 2016 we had our baby Faith, and then our Hope baby, Skywalker. But greater than Faith and Hope is Love. And so 2017 I will focus on loving my family, my friends, and my God in a more intentional way.

For practical goals, I really want to improve my gardening skills. Especially to do a better job of harvesting and preserving our plunder. There always seems to be so much garden waste because I either don’t harvest in time, or I don’t do anything with the food I have harvested. It would be nice to freeze more foods, but we often times run out of room in the freezers. I hope to plan my time better to can more foods. Dehydrating would be a nice addition to our preserving methods as well. I would also like to maximize production in the garden. So often I end up with a full garden bed not in use. I want to plan better to plant by the moon, which means I should plant some root vegetables this week, I just need to get some more carrot seeds and hope for the best.

I also hope to maximize our meat production. This involves better planning with rabbit breeding. We will be building another grow-out pen soon, which will house as many as six more rabbits as they grow to harvest weight – a whole litter. This year we’ll be moving from a breeding plan with the pigs to simply raising meat pigs. Hopefully this will reduce overall costs. We’ll also be able to take a break from pigs when we want to. I would also like to add beef to the freezer somehow, probably by buying half a cow. If we can accomplish all these goals, we won’t need to buy any meat from the grocery store.

Other goals for the farm include getting poultry for egg production, preferably chickens, maybe quail or ducks again, I really miss the ducks; start rotational grazing for the goats on a small scale; and finish replacing the south fence line so we can make better use of the eight acres we currently have on a grazing lease (Hubby worked on this over the weekend).

My major skills goal is to learn more about herbal medicine. I have talked about it for years, but this will be the year that I get resources (books) to learn from and plants in the garden to actually be able to use what I learn. I already have a huge yarrow plant growing. I used it after Skywalker was born to help with swelling and I healed quickly where used. I have a small hyssop plant, but I have no idea what to do with it. All I know is that they use it for cleansing in Biblical times.

After a discussion with a friend this week, I have been inspired to reduce my kids’ TV time. I have used TV as a crutch in survival mode. But now it’s time to move on with our lives and teach them how to play with all their toys again. Part of this involves creating a better routine for our family. We had a great routine going for a while, and then 2016 happened. Now it’s time to figure out what works with three kids and all our obligations.

Although I made major improvements in our house last year, I want to continue my mission to purge, simplify, and organize our home. The kids’ clothes are spilling over again. My new craft room/spare room was close to becoming the Forbidden Room again – but I saved it before it got too bad. Our kitchen needs some help in this department too. There is just too much stuff everywhere.

I want to start playing my oboe again. I had finally picked it up after not playing for several years and then I stopped again last summer when we got busy again. But this will be the year that I make an effort to practice regularly (while the girls are in school), make my own reeds, and maybe even play at church again. I miss making music. I’d also like to get back to my other crafting hobbies – sewing, cross stitch, knitting. With my craft room almost set up the way I like it, I now have better access to all my supplies and my sewing machine. I even have floor space for cutting out patterns!

I’m thinking about writing book reviews here on the blog too. Would you be interested in reading these? I’ve been reading so much and I’d love to share my take-aways on these books. Some books are simply for pleasure, some are faith-building, and some are homestead-related. There may be a children’s book review from time to time as well.

So there you go. It looks like quite the list of goals for a year, but this is why I make goals and not resolutions. 😉 What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish in 2017? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Protein S

Six months. Twenty six weeks. Half a year since we said goodbye to baby Faith. I have dealt with so many emotions in that time. Not having a reason of death was maybe the hardest thing for me to accept. And so I blamed myself. I dealt with the guilt. I forgave myself. I vowed to do better next time. Continue reading

Faith’s Playlist: A Journey of Faith

I’m a music person. My life has a soundtrack. Each chapter of my life sounds a little different. Music is an expression of the soul. There were times when I longed for an English horn, to let out that mournful melody of my grief. But the oboe worked well enough with Nielsen’s Romance of his Two Fantasy Pieces. Most of the time though, I let others create the music. This is Faith’s soundtrack.

Music-Note-Coloring-Pages-For-Kids

Motion of Mercy – Francesca Battistelli: This was first on my iPod labor playlist for Little Monster. I took my Kindle with me for Faith’s delivery and would rely on my Pandora stations for labor music this time. When it was time for the actual delivery, Hubby asked if I wanted to change the station (he truly is amazing, always knowing exactly what I need at just the right moment). I switched to my Francesca Battistelli inspired station, and as fate would have it, this was the first song that played as I was ready to push. The same one that started the pushing phase with Faith’s biggest sister. It helped ready my mind and body for the task ahead. “God give me strength to give something for nothing. I want to be a glimpse of the kingdom that’s coming soon. That’s the motion of mercy, changing the way and the what we are. That’s the motion of mercy, moving my heart.” Continue reading

Beauty from these Ashes: A Journey of Faith

Little Monster found some swallowtail caterpillars on my fennel plant this week. She petted them, transported them, and talked to them. She was excited each day to go to the garden and search for her new friends. But now they have changed into their chrysalis form. In the morning there were three wriggly caterpillars, and by afternoon they had changed. To Monster, it’s like the caterpillars died. She can’t play with them anymore. They don’t crawl around on her fingers. They just stay in their chrysalis, hanging on to the fennel. We know that they are about to become something even more beautiful. They will soon be butterflies fluttering about the garden. But I’m not sure that Little Monster believes it yet. She doesn’t understand how something can change forms so drastically. Continue reading

A Thankful Heart: A Journey of Faith

How can I be thankful for anything when we just lost our baby? What can I possibly be thankful for?

A few weeks before Lent began I had decided to focus on a thankful heart during this season. Each day I would write down three new things I am thankful for. No repeating things from previous days. I did this practice last year and it had such a positive impact on me I wanted to experience it again. Little did I know my faith was about to be tested in a way I couldn’t have imagined. Continue reading

Saying Goodbye: A Journey of Faith

I cannot adequately put into words in one sitting what has happened over the past two weeks. I have had small snippets of being able to use my words, so I will turn to those moments already recorded for this post.

 

Monday, February 8

To my dear unborn baby,

I have been meaning to write you a letter for several weeks now. I wrote one when I first learned about you, but the computer ate it. It told you how much you were wanted. How you were a gift from God. That you were put on this earth to bring this family closer together and to strengthen our faith. It told you that even though we didn’t plan for you, that others might say you were an accident, or more affectionately an “oops baby,” that you were in fact none of these. That God planned you from the beginning. It was a letter telling you that I cried when I learned of you because I didn’t think I was ready for you. But I put aside my selfish desires and couldn’t wait to find out who this special baby was going to be. Because God created you, He knew what He was doing. His plan is always the best. We would just have to wait and find out what His plan was.

But now I will never get to meet you. I will never know who you would have become. Because God’s plan was never for us to keep you. He wanted you for Himself all along. Jesus said, “Follow me!” And you got up and followed him. (Mark 2:14) You just couldn’t wait to be with Him. I don’t blame you. But I am going to miss you. When you leave my body tomorrow I will be left with an empty womb. I can’t remember the last time I felt you move, but now I think I feel you sometimes.

I didn’t know it could hurt this much. I didn’t know it was possible to shed so many tears. I didn’t know it was possible to love someone so much when you’ve never even met them. I didn’t think I was ready for you, but now I’m not ready to say goodbye. God, reveal your plan in us. My precious baby, I love you. You will always hold a special place in my heart.

Love always,

mommy

IMG_1895

Ultrasound on December 23. She was talking to us.

Continue reading