Friday, March 26, 2010


"Let them praise His name and dance..." Psalm 149:3

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fresh Air

It has been such a long winter for us. It was so cold, keeping us cooped up inside too often, for too many days in a row. Sickness seemed to run rampant through the house for weeks at a time. The pregnancy kept me feeling run down and in pain most of the time. I was so ready for springtime to arrive.

When Phoebe was born, I'd already broken out the flip-flops and skirts. It snowed the day Ruthie was born. But by that weekend, the sun came out and the temperatures began to warm. The bradford pear trees are blooming, short sleeves are coming out of drawers, and it looks like the warmer weather is here to stay.

As the temperatures approached sixty degrees, it was as if my heart lightened. Perhaps it's because I feel like we've waited so long for Spring, or perhaps it was because of the memories of the last time I brought home a newborn and the challenging season that followed. Whatever the reason, I feel like I'm able to breathe a little easier knowing that Spring is, for the most part, here.

We've been celebrating the warmer weather with lots of outside play. The girls are big enough to shoo into the backyard (alone!) for extended periods of time, and they love it even more now that we have something fun to climb on and slide down. Friends have come to play and dig, seeds have been planted, the ground has been fertilized, and popsicles have been eaten. Everyone seems to be in brighter spirits.

God is so gracious to give us Spring. Declaring His character in the bringing forth of new life, year after year, He is making all things new. And this year, it seems particularly sweet. Praise God from whom all blessings flow... including flip-flops!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Freezing Time

The girls were all freshly bathed, smelling of lavender and berry bubble bath. Everyone was in their clean, warm jammies, and we were all piled up in the big girls' room. I sat with a sleepy Ruthie in the green glider, while Michael and the big girls perched on Phoebe's bed.

Somewhere in the routine of stories and songs and prayers, the girls were bouncing and giggling and wrestling and snuggling. And just for a moment, I wanted to freeze time -- to keep them this way forever.

There is nothing easy about having three small children. The challenges of training and discipline are met with sleep deprivation. Yesterday, I was on my feet literally from 6:15am to 9:00pm, stopping only to feed myself or the baby. I change approximately sixteen diapers a day. Each day is an exercise in dying to self.

And yet, the days are beautiful. I cannot imagine more precious ages to have in my house, or sweeter voices echoing off our walls. Thank you, Lord, for my three stairstep little girls...

Monday, March 15, 2010


March, it seems, is the month of three. Third month, three babies... and now, a three-year-old! Yesterday was Phoebe's third birthday, and I can hardly believe that three years have gone by. It seems like just a moment ago that it was Phoebe I was holding, wrapped up in hospital blankets weighing hardly anything at all. It goes by so fast.

I absolutely love having a three year old. The one that lives in my house is a delightful little sprite that fills our home with giggles and stories and pink and princesses. As she would say, "She is perc-fect for us!"

At three years old, Phoebe is so pink. She loves all things feminine: princesses, the color pink, ruffles, ribbons, fluff, accessories, ballet, and dress-up. Most days, she is in some form of fancy dress for a large part of the day. She can tell you all about the Disney princesses, even though she's only actually seen Cinderella in its entirety. She loves to dance (especially to Oldies), and she often pretends to be a ballerina. Twirling about in her tutu, Phoebe looks like pink ice cream.

Phoebe loves to talk. She is a delight to share conversation with; no longer do I feel like I'm talking to myself all day long! Her favorite question is, "Why?", and I hear it approximately three hundred times a day. Phoebe also asks big questions - God questions - and it is a blessing to see evidence of the Lord's working in her heart. Phoebe narrates her day, and she often re-enacts portions of books or movies as she pretends. Although Phoebe speaks clearly, many of her words have a sweet Phoebe twist to them; we always grieve when we realize she's started saying a word properly. Her voice has a sweet musical quality, and I love to hear her talk as much as she loves to talk.

Phoebe is a visual learner, and seems to remember just about anything she has seen. She is a creature of habit, and is compulsive about some of her routines. (She must sleep with a fan on, for example.) She immediately notices when things are out of place. She could sit and read for hours, and especially loves to read the same books over and over again. (Her favorite books are all by Robert McCloskey.) Phoebe also loves to sing and listen to music, and she has the entire Psalty CD memorized. She loves to work jigsaw puzzles, play board games, and color with markers.

Phoebe is free-spirited and dreamy, and she clearly marches to the beat of her own drum. And yet, she's also remarkably obedient and helpful. Most tasks take...time. (Mommy is learning to be patient and kind as she nurtures her Phoebe-girl.) She loves to help with just about anything I'm doing; these days, she especially loves to help with her new baby sister. Phoebe is an active preschooler who loves to run and jump and skip and hop and twirl, but she also loves quiet, still activities. When we play outside, she loves to take care of the birds and "find them berries". For her birthday, she longed for a slide... and we obliged.

It is impossible to adequately describe our little girl. She delights and surprises me all the time. I cannot believe that she is the biggest of our three girls at three years old... but God has given me a sweet gift and helper in her. It seems like every day I love her more. I cannot wait to see what this next year will hold for her!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Waking Up

We all needed to ease into our morning on Sunday. A little PBS and milk (and coffee for the grown ups) seemed to do the trick!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Nora is 17 Months Old!

Since there are plenty of extra hands in the house today, I'm happy to be able to record some of Nora's "data" at seventeen months. Just a few weeks ago, it seemed that she was still so much a baby; there's nothing like having a little sister to make you grow up in a hurry! She seems so big to me now!

(sweeter than a powdered donut!)

At seventeen months, Nora is...
  • a big sister! She adores her little sister, and wants to be with her/touch her/kiss her any chance she gets. She's trying to learn her big sister boundaries, which will just take a little time.
  • talks all the time. She is using many more words consistently and clearly; I'm seeing the light at the end of the "communication frustration" tunnel. Nora has also learned how to say, "No." (Sigh.) Nora also successfully repeats most words I can get her to attempt. She pronounces her own name as Nona.
  • the owner of eight teeth! I figure we'll get one year molars about the time she turns two, and hopefully before Ruthie starts teething.
  • still a little songbird, and will sing along to and do the hand motions for several of our favorite songs. She is very choosy about the songs she wants to sing. Her favorite is still "Jesus Loves Me". My favorite to watch is the Monkeys on the Bed song.
  • a dancer! We have regular dance parties in the kitchen, and my heart explodes with delight when I watch her and her sister twirl under my feet. I don't think Nora knows how to be still when music is on.
  • learning not to thrash. Nora expresses displeasure with gusto... we're trying to teach her that tantrums will get her nowhere.
  • in love with books. She will sit in a lap for an unlimited amount of time to read. She will ask for "one more" (with a pointed "one" finger and with the words "one mo'") about...oh... twenty times.
  • using both a fork and a spoon on her own, and does not like to be helped.
  • a bathing beauty. Nora would take three baths a day if I'd let her. When she tags along with Mommy to go to the bathroom, she usually stands at the bathtub and says please. She particularly loves bubble baths (who doesn't?), and "bubbles" is one of my favorite words to hear her say.
  • a fan of transfer games (moving objects from one container to another), coloring (and other arts and crafts), and just being darn cute.
  • the giver of some of the sweetest kisses and "nose nose" that I know.
Nora is about as exuberant is they come. She went for an overnight with Mops last night while Mops had to head back home for a dentist appointment. (I still can't lift that sweet bug, and Michael needed to be at work.) I was amazed at how quiet the house was without her! I am so thankful that the Lord has given us the joyful noise of our little Nora.

Monday, March 8, 2010


As soon as I found out we were having a third girl, I couldn't wait to see her with her sisters. Phoebe was thrilled that she was having another sister, and I really hoped she would maintain her enthusiasm after Ruthie arrived. (When Nora was born, she was somewhat indifferent.) And with Nora being so small... well, I had no idea what to expect. But since Nora is so social and very much into babies, I figured she would be in love with her little sister.

Practice makes perfect!

Nora literally could not wait to see her sister! (She's standing on the table!)

The girls' reactions to their new baby sister were so much sweeter than I could have even hoped for. All of a sudden, Phoebe seemed so grown up and mature... and so in love with this tiny little baby. She oohed and ahhed with gusto, and she now eagerly helps with baby duties. And when Nora first saw Ruthie, I'm certain she thought her sister was a baby doll -- until she moved! Since then, Nora has been overwhelmingly drawn to Ruthie. She wants to look at her, touch her, and play with her every chance she gets.
In love...

It is a delight to watch the girls together, and I can't even begin to imagine how sweet the days to come will be. For now, the big girls are just content to play with their real live baby doll!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I was so relieved when Tuesday morning finally arrived. As thrilled as I was that we would be meeting Ruthie later that day, I was even more thrilled to know that I did not go into labor at home. Because Nora's delivery was SO fast (less than three hours), I was terrified that labor would begin at home and end...well...on the Interstate. In rush hour. While induced labors are not for everyone, I am so thankful that God graciously allowed us to have a scheduled labor.

What follows is an account of my labor and delivery and, while I plan to keep this completely PG, I know some are uninterested in the details of another woman's birth story. Feel free to skip this if you'd just rather not know.

We arrived at the hospital at 6:00, and we were immediately brought back to our room. We had a delightful nurse - Jennifer - and everyone was ready to get things started. After I changed into a very glamorous hospital gown, we got prepped for my IV. This was the worst part of my delivery with Phoebe...and actually, it was the worst part with Ruthie, too. I'd learned to request lidocaine (ladies... ASK FOR makes a huge difference) before getting the IV, but I evidently did not learn how to not pass out. The lidocaine made the experience pretty much pain-free... but Sissy Sarah blacked out for about ten seconds during the process.

The doctor came in to break my water just as I was starting to come around, so we decided to wave her off for a few minutes. About half an hour later, my primary OB came in and we got things going. I started having some mild, regular contractions. At 7:30, we started the pitocin drip.

Since I was already 3 and thinning when I checked in, I was cleared for an epidural as soon as I started having regular contractions. By 8:15, the anesthesiologist was in my room. Since the IV made me so woozy, we prayed before the procedure and, thankfully, I did not pass out. Things briefly got spotty, but I believe they gave me some epinephrine pretty quickly and I felt better rapidly. Thankfully, the epidural took without issue.

Labor after that was pretty uneventful. I progressed a little more slowly than with Nora, but honestly... Nora's delivery was like a Nascar race. We made our delivery pool, Michael had breakfast, checked some email, watched the snow (yes, snow!) fall... I was thankful for the chance to relax. At 11, my nurse informed me that she was going to take a brief lunch; she felt like we'd be close to ready when she returned.

And we were! At 11:40, we were more than ready to have a baby. The doctor was called, the room was prepped, and I got to lay very still. My doctor was also called to deliver the girl in the room next to me...thankfully, we got to go first. (I don't think Ruthie was willing to wait any longer!) At 12:00, the doctor walked in; at 12:04, Ruthie was born. She couldn't wait to get here!

Ruthie is the biggest of our babies, weighing in at a whopping 6 pounds, 7 ounces and 19.25 inches long. As soon as I saw her, I couldn't believe how much she looked like Phoebe did at birth. We are so tremendously grateful for a healthy and uneventful delivery! God has been so gracious to us in childbirth.

My recovery has been relatively pain-free. After going through a very difficult recovery after Phoebe's delivery, and recovering at Children's with Nora... I'm extremely thankful for a quiet recovery at home. Mops and Pops have been here to help with the transition, and I have no idea how I'll transition to normal life... but I'm thankful that I've got another week before I have to think about that! For now, we're all enjoying the newest little addition to our family!

Friday, March 5, 2010

With Great Joy

We are delighted to announce that our sweet Mary Ruth, "Ruthie", has arrived! We are all in love with this precious gift from God, and are at home adjusting to life as a family of five. Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!

Monday, March 1, 2010

She's Having a Baby

As I tucked tiny newborn-size diapers into a basket, I marveled at how tiny newborns really are. Is it true that the two small girls in my house ever wore these tiny diapers? (They did, for the record. Phoebe for at least two months, and Nora even wore preemie diapers for a time.) As I cracked open a new bottle of Dreft and poured it over a small load of tiny new gowns and socks, I was overcome with imaginings of this new baby to come -- wearing these clothes, snuggled in our arms. And it's all starting to become real. We are having a baby.

It's a good thing that it's starting to click, because we're actually having a baby tomorrow. People have been asking me, "Are you ready?" And the answer is absolutely not. And absolutely yes.

I am absolutely not ready for the new that comes with a newborn. Yes, there are clothes washed, a crib (sort of) set up, and a car seat installed... but the newborn transition is always challenging. With this baby more than the others, I really feel like I'm having to step out in faith for God's provision. Newborns are humbling and hard, and there are few things that cause my sin to bubble up like sleep deprivation. And yet, I know that God is faithful to sustain me (us) and provide. He gently cares for us, shepherding us, teaching us, sanctifying us.

But at the same time, I am absolutely ready for this baby. My body is ready, but even moreso, my heart is ready. I cannot wait to meet her, to hold her, to get to know her. I'm longing to see her all wrapped up in those blue and white hospital blankets and to count her tiny fingers and toes. I'm eager to see her with her sisters and to know her alone. I cannot wait to see how perfectly she was formed, God's perfect plan for our family and for this time.

We covet your prayers as we head to the hospital early tomorrow morning for a scheduled induction. I cannot wait to introduce the world to our little Ruthie!