Monday, December 31, 2012

It's a....


Caleb Joseph was born at 3 pm on New Years Eve, a special blessing for Kerri and I and our family.

The name Caleb means "faithful, devotion, wholehearted" and our prayer for him is that he would follow his Biblical namesake:

"Caleb... wholeheartedly followed the Lord God" - Joshua 14:14

Joseph was also a godly and faithful character in the Old Testament. We were blessed to learn much about this man of integrity at the FRC camp this summer: his faith even from a young age when he was separated from his family, his resolve in the face of temptation, his trust in the faithfulness and sovereignty of God.

Of course we know that the characters of these two men were ordained by God, and we pray to our Father that he would infuse Caleb, and all our boys, with a strong, faithful character, a devotion to serving their King no matter where he takes them in their lives, and a deep love for their heavenly Father.

Friday, December 28, 2012

from the homefront

First of all thank you for your suggestions for a baby name. They were fun to read and they were helpful too. My sister-in-law put it right when she wrote to us that although we may be struggling with a baby name, this baby has been completely known and loved by God before time.

One thing that I wanted to pass on is the website:
During the month of December, we have used this resource during our morning devotions to teach our children about contentedness. We have found it very helpful and we have learned from it too. Even though we keep things very simple during Christmas the greed creeps in.

When we opened up our Christmas presents we had a little surprise for the boys. We blindfolded them and took them on a drive through our town. These boys had no idea where we were going and seemed a bit vulnerable especially after Adam  and I were talking about which child we were going to drop off at what stop sign. Terrible parents. For ten minutes we drove all over our town and then we reached our destination. The boys guessed that we were somewhere rustic and rugged. We carefully led them out of the van but not before we made a few comments about them having to duck because of flying bats. By this time they were holding onto each other's hands. Terrible parents. We untied their blind folds and ta-DA! They had the most bewildered look on their faces and it was no wonder... We were in our barn.
In the barn was a family gift of an outdoor wooden game that we bought at our school bazaar.

Everyone received one more gift and that was a coon skin hat. The boys just loved these and Andrew especially couldn't be more happy. He wears it where ever he goes.


This boy oozes character. 

And I can't resist some puppy pictures - almost all of them are sold and they are growing quickly.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

baby names

    I'll get straight to the point. Even though we have about three weeks to go before we can meet our little one, Adam and I are in panic mode with picking out a baby name. We have been at this point before and it is not fun. When I was in labour with Andrew we were walking up and down our road with a baby name book. (I guess that it was one way to take my mind off of contractions.) When Andrew was born we were still struggling with names but we finally came up with the name "Andrew."  I learned that you really should have a name picked out before the baby is born because a week later I was in the church nursery writing out instructions for our new baby and for the life of me, I could not remember what our sweet baby's name was. That was very embarassing!
We have never really picked out a girl's name because we were always quite sure that the baby would be another boy.

So we are asking you for help. We need a baby name.
Here are some of our guidelines:

~we are past the point of caring what the name means. Desperate times call for desperate measures. As long as the name doesn't mean something horrible like crooked nose, or dictator
~we do not like alliterations so the name cannot start with "R" because our last name starts with "R"
~it also cannot start with the letter "T." We learned with Tyler that it goes with too many names like terrible,tornado, terrible twos, trouble, and torrent of destruction
~we prefer more than one syllable but again we are desperate so if you know a good name, pass it on

Hopefully some of you have some suggestions that you can share with us. Maybe we will even offer a prize if we pick out the name that you suggested - like a puppy!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

our new arrival(s)

A few weeks ago, I began to notice some similarities between myself and our new chocolate lab, Tessa.
She would waddle to her food and water dishes and I would waddle to our food pantry and refrigerator. She was panting and I was short of breath. She was becoming more and more lethargic and spent a lot of time sleeping. So do I. Her belly "popped' out and started growing day by day, and so does mine. When the boys would throw a ball and tell her to fetch she looks at them as if "yeah right, you expect me to run and bend over?!"  With me, I think twice before I bend over for anything and while I am down there I look for whatever else needs to be done. Tessa didn't seem to have to cross her legs when she sneezed, nor have heart burn, fluid retention, or high blood pressure, but she did have frequent trips to the outdoors to relieve herself. We both had the nesting urge last week. She dug a hole under our front porch and filled it with straw. I took out baby clothes, searched for the cradle and tidied up.Tessa and I would look knowingly at each other. We both knew that sometime this month we would experience labour. It was disturbing to notice all of the similarities between our family dog and myself.
On Monday we noticed changes in Tessa and dragged her down to the basement to have her puppies in the big whelping box that Adam made. We had never heard of the word whelping until last week. When we knew that Tessa was in the family way we quickly had to do some research about what to expect when your dog is expecting. All day Monday the dog was in labour and it was a terrible thing to watch. First of all there is nothing you can do and secondly, it was another reminder about what is coming my way! By Monday night there were eight wet little puppies and Tessa was still in labour. When we checked on her early Tuesday morning there were eleven puppies! Eleven. We couldn't believe it. Suddenly the big whelping box that Adam built didn't seem so big. Our boys were wild with excitement and we could hardly get them off to school. We made phone calls and all of the grandparents stopped by at some point during the day to see these little puppies. Aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends have all come by to see our new additions. We have eleven puppies to add to the zoo-likeness of our house hold! And now we know what to get all of our siblings for Christmas.


Monday, December 3, 2012


I try not to think about labour until right before the baby is born otherwise I scare myself silly.
But a few weeks ago after a dr's appointment I was sent to the labour and delivery ward for some more assessments due to high blood pressure. I pushed open the big, heavy wooden doors and was instantly overwhelmed by the most horrific screaming. Now I have been on that floor many times, I have seen babies born; but I have never, ever heard screaming like that. It was that intense. Immediately my knees buckled, my mouth went dry, and I (I'll admit it) began to sweat. I found a seat and was tempted to plug my ears.
The screaming was persistent and only stopped when the mother-to-be took a breath. Suddenly a nurse came running out from the delivery room into the hallway yelling where's the husband? At that moment a panicked looking man came bounding down the hallway and followed the nurse into the delivery room. Within two minutes I could hear the baby's cries. What drama for a small town hospital.
When I was a nursing student I was able to watch some babies being born and it was the most wonderful thing to witness. And then something terrible happened. A mother had asked for an epidural and she was frozen from her waist upwards. The whole experience was awful for both the mother and the nursing staff. From then on I have had a fear of epidurals. Thankfully when Nate, our oldest, was born in an hour and a half - there was no time to think about an epidural.
 Liam-that is another story. I had high blood pressure so the midwives told me to come to the hospital in order to induce labour. Adam dropped me off at the hospital and then went to see a house that was for sale. (We would later buy this farm house.)  As I was laying in the hospital waiting to be induced I started to freak out and thought that there was no way that I could go through labour. I called Adam and told him to pick me up. I snuck out of the hospital without telling the midwives. The next day they called me at home and told me that I had to come back to the hospital and that it wasn't an option. As the day went on and the labour became more and more intense I started to loose control. It was one contraction on top of another and I was feeling despair. I decided that it was time for an epidural. When the anesthesiologist was called he told us that he couldn't come in for awhile because he was going to Mass. On a Saturday. Pope John Paul was dying and Catholics all over the world were heading off to their churches. I told Adam and the midwives that I didn't care that the Pope was dying. I needed an epidural. It wasn't going to happen.
An hour later we welcomed our beautiful little boy and I told myself that the horribleness of labour was all worth it. And now as we prepare to meet our new little one in a few more weeks I need to keep on reminding myself that labour is only temporary. There is a great blessing at the end of it!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

table manners

In the book "Parenting By God's Promises" Joel Beeke emphasizes repeatedly how important it is for a family to take time and have supper together. This should be a time of asking each child how their day was and a time of conversing kindly and showing interest in one another.

Adam is very good at this and sets a good tone during supper time. I am the problem. By supper time I am tired and I have a hard time being nice when I have the twirling, chewing whirlwinds sitting all around me. To the right of me I have a boy that chews his food like a cow. The food on his plate is stuffed into his mouth in three humongous bites. There is no way that his lips could seal closed with his cheeks already bulging. I also have a climber right beside me stuck in a highchair. When he feels full he just throws his plate with the left over food on to the table. I was never good at catching things, so a plate of food is impossible to catch and lands all over the floor. To my left I have a boy that can twist and turn his body into all sorts of positions. I spend so much of the supper time reminding him that he is not a monkey and that he must sit on his behind. The boy that sits across from me is lucky because he is out of my reach. He has table manner issues too. He thinks that a fork is a foreign object and that somehow each particle of food should be felt with his hands first before his hands put the food into his mouth. On top of that he has a habit of moving his chair further and further away from the table. I think that he does this on purpose since he is our most picky eater. A good portion of his food just happens to fall onto the floor.
(Adam sits right across from me and just so you know he has good table manners!)
I look around me and wonder is this just a boy thing? Do girls automatically come with good table manners or do they need to be taught too? I imagine my sons' future girlfriends going out on a date with one of them and saying "Where is this guy's manners? They are despicable! Didn't their mother teach them anything?"
So should I leave the table manners teaching alone and be like Adam and concentrate on creating a good family atmosphere? Is this just a stage and all of a sudden the child develops table manners on his own?
 My conclusion is that just like the rest of life, balance is the best thing. The challenge is finding it. It also doesn't hurt to ask other families how their supper hours go and maybe they have some helpful suggestions. Maybe some of you have some suggestions too!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

from the homefront - month of october

We have a new addition for our family - a dog! This has been a long time in waiting for our boys but we are thrilled with our new chocolate lab. She is a friendly, easy-going mannered 3 year old. The boys are in love with her and we think that she loves her new home too!


On Thanksgiving we had family over and Adam's aunt brought the most beautiful kites over for the kids. The weather was windy and the kites were a hit.

-Getting organized -
During the past few months I have made some trips to Ikea. I like to think that I am organized but there are areas, such as paper work that I am terrible at. If it wasn't for Adam we would be in big trouble. Not one bill would be paid:)
First I cleaned through the house and pretended that we were moving. This massive de-cluttering helped give a head start to getting organized.

These magazine rack things from Ikea have been the biggest help. We hung it in our closet door right underneath a jumble calendar. Each child has a folder and everything goes in it. There are no more frantic mornings looking for what they need to bring to school. I love this thing!

In our back entrance, which is also our main entrance I bought this bookshelf and tipped it on its side. Now each child has his own basket with his hats, scarves, and mittens. It was about $70.00 which is not a bad price but the baskets are almost as much as the bookshelf! Either way this has already made a huge difference for morning rushes and cleaning up.

Here is an old crate from a garage sale on top of a little table from another garage sale! All of the incoming - and outgoing books belong there. We have a school library as well as a church library, books that we are borrowing from people - everything goes in that crate.

We have a little spot by our front entrance that is the toy area. I bought this bench from Ikea in the as-is section because it was already assembled - great for me! All of the little cars, animals, and lego fit nicely in the bench and that keeps the clutter hidden.

 -WAR  OF 1812-
We spent a cold, rainy Saturday watching the re-enactment of the civil war. It happened exactly 200 years ago on the same date in the same field. The boys were just thrilled to watch the battle take place. With the guns and Indians and the smoke - they were in their element. I just wish that I knew what was going on. My history needs some brushing up on because the only help I could offer was to cheer for the red coats!

Monday, October 22, 2012

the giggles

the giggles....

they come at the most inopportune time ~ church, family devotions, sitting in a class
they come up most unexpectedly, and give no warning
as a slow smile begins to spread across your face;
your shoulders begin to shake, you begin to sweat, you agonize why you wore such a bright coloured shirt so that everyone can see you shaking, you try to think of a sobering thought, you pinch yourself, you try to smother the giggles with a cough and it comes out more like a snort - just to add to the awefuless of it all, it is a horrid feeling as the giggles sweep over you

Growing up with all sisters there were many fits of giggles and it usually happened when my dad was trying to read the Bible after supper. My dad would look to my mom for support only to see her shoulders shaking and her face turning red from trying to keep the giggles in. You see, us girls came by it honestly. When we were in trouble we would only have to give mom our mastered look and she could no longer discipline us. She had a hard time trying to look angry at us and at the same time trying not to smile. So my mom, in great wisdom, would tell us to turn around and then she would turn around and that is how we would get our lecture. Back to back. Some of you are probably thinking that this explains it all! I do not ever remember walking out of church because of a bathroom need but I do remember on a few occasions walking out because I could not stop laughing. I am sure that my sisters have the same story.
Our boys often have fits of laughter and it frustrates Adam to no end especially because he has no support from me. I tell him that my dad had to put up with much worse but that doesn't seem to help matters. I tell him that the boys also come by it honestly and the sad thing is that the giggles are with you for life. The one good thing is that our boys haven' t mastered "the look" yet. They still get in trouble without me trying to hide a smirk.  Adam tells me that the giggles are all about control. I tell him that you can no more control the giggles than you can control "the runs". The giggles are that uncontrollable!

Friday, October 12, 2012

a troublesome two year old

For a few months now, Tyler jumps out of his crib as fast as we put him in it. After making this huge mess, his room is now empty. He even managed to climb on top of his dresser and knock everything off of the shelf - high on the wall. We find him asleep in all sorts of positions but most often in front of his closed door so that when we try to open his door at night we have to shove his sleeping body out of the way in order to get into his room.


So far out of our four children we have had three trying two year olds.With number five on it's way, be it a boy or girl, Adam and I feel that we deserve a calm child!  We have had our share of heart-stopping moments and sharp intakes of breath as our daring two year olds take flying leaps, climb on to high things, and seek to destroy.  We often wonder who was more of a handful at the age of two -  Tyler or Andrew.

Here is an email that I wrote to our friends and family about Andrew when he was two years old.
Date: December 22, 2009
Subject: I hope that no one comes over right now...

"Our house looks like it has been struck by a tornado, maybe even worse than that. While I was reading quietly to the two older boys this morning a certain little two year old unleashed all of his powers. He got into the pantry and dumped two bags of rice all over the kitchen and living area. Amongst the scattered rice he mixed in a container of sunflower seeds - just for good measure. He smeared kid's tooth paste all over the kitchen counters (I think that he wanted to hide the marker drawings that he made on the counter!). He dumped all of the crayons that we own on the carpet (and we have a lot). He went upstairs and tied certain woman's products on to our hallway dresser. He took bread, added water to it and smeared it over the couch and put the left overs in his hiding spot behind the couch where he twisted and grinded his feet into it. He dumped my creative memories tote onto the ground and spread paper around. Words cannot describe the disaster.
He managed to do this all very quietly and orderly. He made good use of his time - less than five minutes. I had wondered why he closed the french doors into the living room while I was reading to the boys on the couch.
When I entered into the kitchen and saw the chaos - I said in a very loud voice, "Andrewwwwww" and I heard "Yep."
There he was behind the couch in his favourite hiding spot. He was sitting in a mess of soggy bread with chocolate smeared all over his face. He had the cordless phone in his marker covered hands and he was pressing the buttons as quick as his little hands would let him. He looked at me and smiled his lopsided smile and said in a deep and too confident voice, "hi mom."
As I lifted him up from behind the couch and terrible thoughts were going through my head, a horrid smell greeted me....
This boy has as much energy as the energizer bunny, he is as quick as an olympic runner, he can climb as well as the greatest mountain climber. His determination surpasses mine by miles and his endurance cannot be matched.
I was worried that he would not live to see his second birthday because of his history of many accidents, but now I am worried that I may not see his third birthday. I will probably hospitalized due to extreme fatigue.
From, one tired mom!"

Well Andrew is now almost five and we made it through that troublesome two year old stage. Tyler is settling down - sort of, and so to all of the moms out there that need eyes on the back of their heads - Hang in there!

Friday, October 5, 2012

visiting with family & friends

A few weeks ago we headed off to RLL with some dear friends and along the way we stopped by at uncle Pete and aunt Annette's. We were so spoiled. Their daughter Jenna has a sheep farm and brought a lamb over (in her small Pontiac) to show the boys.


We were welcomed with open arms and many delicious homemade muffins.

The boys LOVED the hay mow

And then off to RLL with Brian and Holly.
Their oldest three boys are the same age as ours and did they ever have fun together.

Nate and Andrew

Liam and Jordan

Justin and Andrew
The middle children. I don't think that I need to say more.

The kids had fun and so did the parents. It was so nice to catch up and spend time together.

Treasure Hunt!
Brian and his beautiful baby daughter.
 Adam's hands look very empty.Twelve more weeks...

Time spent with family and friends is such a wonderful gift and we are thankful for these blessings.