Thursday, May 31, 2012

On sharing

So...yeah...clearly this isn't invite only.

I've decided that I should just take this as a lesson in being careful about what I share until I have a thicker skin.


I do want to share that first part of the story.

Because it does matter. Birth CJane said.

Our stories are a lot alike. Our birth histories.
 And God used her story to give me the courage to lean on him...wait on him....wait for an answer.

It just didn't turn out the way I thought it would.

And that's ok.

Everyone is right.
A breathing, beautiful baby....that is what really matters. That is what I really wanted out of this.

But it also doesn't mean that the anxiety I have, examining what happened, grieving the vision we had, and aching for what I thought could have been....isn't legitimate.

If nothing else, I believe this whole things has made me less judgemental.

See, I remember when I passed judgement about people who have made the same kind of decision that we did.

What I didn't realize is that there might have been all sorts of history, all sorts of back story, that made their choice not just more romantic....but more safe.

While we will never personally know the outcome ( this is the way of socialized medicine), there has been an inquest made into how and why my baby's arm was snapped in half at birth. Such an unusual birth injury...that they counseled us for a genetic disorder causing brittle bones.

So.....I the funny thing is, that people judged me over, I know I was right. My baby really was safer being born at home. Should that be the case? Absolutely not.

But maybe instead of jumping on others for decisions that we see as reckless, we should examine what would lead a person to such a thing. Acknowledge it...and fix it.

So for now, the moral of this story is that maybe we had to walk through what we did to ensure that births in military hospitals ( America's socialized medicine) will be safer for moms and babies.

And the moral of this story is that everything we ever do or say will be judged by someone...and that shouldn't make us afraid to share...because maybe sharing, like Cjane did, is what will help them realize that the real problem isn't that which they are judging, but the system that brought a person to that point.*

So someday...when I have the skin, I will share that part of the story. I will share the why and the how behind it all, and maybe....maybe it will inspire someone like I was inspired; to follow your intuition, the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

From Beginning to Finish, all in a month

The Good Captain Seahorse arrived two days into the month of May, and it turns out that the Patriarch of our family, Grandpapa SoulFull, went home to the Lord with two days left. What a month it has been.

I can't decide if it makes me glad or sad, that forever, we will associate The Captain's birthday with his Great Grandfather leaving us. In one respect, I am loathe to think that every birthday will dredge up the pain of loss, particularly for Great Grandma. On the other hand, I think there is a beautiful symmetry to it. This ninth great grand child. 5th great grandson. The representation of his legacy...

The Critter Catcher, formerly known as The (Big) Boy, would have been born on Grandpapa SoulFull's 70 th birthday, by induction, had he not decided to show up earlier in the month ( Elk season, I was chided, don't deliver during elk season....). So nearly 70 years to the day after his own birth, Grandpapa SoulFull welcomed his first great grandson, another red head like himself. The first red head in their family since himself.

It's like they are some kind of eclipse...occurring every 70 years in this family. A wild, yet strangely pensive and sensitive red-headed fellow. Grandpapa was country, born in Tennessee, raised by the village, so to speak. The Critter Catcher thinks of himself that way- determined that the word "redneck" is some kind of badge of honor, bestowed upon the toughest, funniest, coolest of folks.

The both of them...constantly full of jokes and mischief. Trademarks of their red-headedness.
From the moment my redhead arrived, I was warned that with the hair came a disposition. It's so strange how it seems true, but then...could that be like a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Regardless. It is fascinating how much alike these two fellows are. Not so odd, in all honesty, when you consider their connection.

The Mister spent many of his formative years happily tucked beneath his Papas wings. He joined the military, albeit another branch of the service, and ended up in as close to the same job ( as his Papa) as you can find in these two different branches of the service.

 Though I sometimes feel I can't remember that I really existed before I became one of them, I feel like an outsider to the family grief. Yet, it was he
that welcomed me, wholeheartedly, from the very beginning.
When everyone else in the family tried to smile at us,
but was really scared to death that we were making a horrible mistake.

He smiled at us. He made us feel that he believed in us.
And that meant the world to us.

But what endears him most...the legacy I am grateful for:

He wasn't a perfect man of course, and he didn't always have the perfect marriage or perfect family.

But he never, ever gave up.

He stuck to his family, thick and thin, when it wasn't fun, when it wasn't romantic....he woke up in the same bedroom for nearly 60 years. He didn't always get along with is wife, but even when she exasperated him...there was a light in his eyes that said "you're mine, and I love you" even when he was irritated.

I am so grateful to be part of that legacy. In a world where "if it isn't fun, don't do it" is the mainstay, my little family has the privilege of coming from stock that believes love runs deeper than feelings....and in the end what you see is a couple that managed to stay in love for roughly 60 years...raise 2 sons, 4 grandchildren, and 9 great grandchildren....who love them, want to be with them.

Good Job, Billy. Thank you for making me a real part of the family. I am absolutely honored.

Friday, May 25, 2012

On Raising Little Chickens

or not.
Since raising and birthing little humans just seems too controversial for my delicate sensibilities, I suppose I will stick to talking about raising little critters for now.

or in this case, not raising them.

We have a couple of hens content to sit on their own nests, or rather the fertilized eggs of all of the other chickens.

We have raised chicksbefore,but there is something incredibly special about watching chickens raise the chicks themselves.

Thanks to human intervention, few breedsof chickens are actually known to habitually raise their own chicks. Try a Google search on " which breeds of chicken raise their own chicks" or any combination of search phrases concerning why they don't or how they do it, and you come up with breed lists, exlaining the key attributes of the major breeds....and only one of them is known for raising their own chicks.

Interestingly, that breed, the Buff Orpington, makes up the majority of our flock for just that reason.....
but it's this funny little Amercauna, a breed created by humans for their colorful eggs, that is out chief Mama in the hen yard.
 The other little layer is some kind of black She was bequeathed to us in The Great Chicken Trade, with no information other than that they call her Little Black, and she likes to lay on eggs.

What was not mentioned is that for as much as she likes to set up house, she has no patience for chicks. She has smothered or pecked every single chick she has hatched....

So we are debating taking the rest of the clutch she has claimed and trying to raise them ourselves.

With The Captain being so fresh out of the womb and all, I am not really into this idea, but after the Dachshund massacre, we really need to replenish our flock. Maybe I can engineer some kind of baby swap,and but the rest of "her" eggs (remember these have been laid by all of our hens, and claimed by just these two) and give them to the Good Little Mother.

Gee, that sounds awful. Like, who are we to judge someones parenting abilities, taking their children away and giving them to someone we deem better....but since in this case, her parenting deficits DO actually lead to the deaths of her children....I feel like we are justified.

Anyhow, The Good Little Mother is currently raising a set of twins that appear to be full blooded Buff Orpington. We are very much enjoying watching her lead them around the hen yard would be just our luck for them to both turn out to be little roosters :D

Saturday, May 19, 2012

To Trolls with Wooden Spoons

Dear Ladies,
 I am really sorry if what I said came off as my own attack on you.
 All I knew was that I had never even heard of your board, but when I tried to find out, I found things like this, this and this.

I had no idea what was said about me,and I said so. I could only address what I could see.

What bothered me most is just the idea. I really didn't expect anyone to take notice of anything I said- after all I didn't have a UC...didn't write about circumcision, child discipline, etc. I know each of those things is like a can of worms, but my non-UC didn't strike me as something anyone, save a couple of other military wives, would pay any attention to. I feel excruciatingly protective of my family right now, having wanted to keep them away from the hospital, then seeing all of those concerns realized..... and clearly a little bit post-partum hormonal.

If the whole purpose of TWWS is actually to provide support, without the drama that can happen in other forums, I am thrilled.

It seems like that is the case and that instead of insults being the purpose, they have been the accidental attention-grabber.

For the most part, everyone who has responded or contacted me to set me straight on this has been very kind about it. Thank you.

I love the idea of women supporting one another, free of this nonsensical "mommy wars" business.

I want people to be able to get and share information in order to make the best parenting decisions for their families.

I want people to be able to get support for their situations when they can't get it from real-life friends, or whether it seems like anything that deserves support to other people or not.

It sounds like you all want the same thing, and in all honesty, you are victims ( for lack of a better word, I apologize) as much as anyone.

You wanted a place to vent about other boards, and just like some may have taken posts from other places, other people leaked about things that were said on your board.

I apologize for that.

Blessings to all of you.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Going Private


All this site is meant for is a way to journal life for my kids.

maybe keep some friends and family in the know.

share a little with Mamas on the same path. or interested in it. or further down it than I am.

Hopefully glorify God a little bit.

But then I discovered that a significant portion of my traffic is coming from some site called " Trolls with Wooden Spoons".

It's a members only forum. The title sounded ominous, so I looked it up.

All I know is that it seems to be a  site made purely for belittling others. **

Cannot even begin to imagine why anyone would waste their own precious time creating or posting on such a thing.

Most likely, they discovered this itty bitty corner of the Internet through some links I left at sites that I enjoy reading, and with whom I wanted to share what's been going on in our lives.

Who knows what they are picking on me for.
 Maybe it's the whole MicroFarm gig.
or my horrible tendency to get too wordy...or too quick with that publish button before editing.
or the homeschooling.*
or the Home birth that wasn't.
Maybe it's the God talk. This is the place where I am learning not to be ashamed of my faith. Not to temper what I say about God because someone might discredit my whole opinion because of it.

It doesn't matter all that much. I realize that they know nothing about me or my history. They don't understand what it is like to come from where I've been to where I am. Why I might feel like all of this is worth writing about.

But it sounds like they enjoy telling people how their babies deserve to die. or how they are morons for their particular way of life.

So, I am pretty sure that I don't want them having any access to mine.

This is my place to think.

My place to practice sharing my opinion and not caring about how someone might judge it.

BUT I want to be able to share things honestly for my children. In a way that is fair to them. and since I won't waste my time figuring out what their issue with me actually is- I just have to circle my figurative wagons and protect what matters most.

I am a little bummed, because I was excited about the chance to share with other people. I am by no means an expert at anything that I am doing, but I thought it might be kind of fun to share my adventures with other people. other people that aren't experts and wonder if it is something they could do. people that just want to jump in feet first and see if they can't just grow their own food, raise their own livestock, or teach their own kids with no experience and no particular talent.

Oh well.
By e-mail request only.
I always liked my parties more exclusive anyhow.

* I seriously felt the need to justify myself. With my Education degree. with the fact that we went to the hospital at the very same time as we would have if we planned a hospital birth anyhow. AND THAT... is why I must go private folks.
** I've been informed by a couple of people that the website is meant to be a support site also, and they have been given genuine support there. I sincerely think that is wonderful. I don't even know what was written about me, all I know is that when I tried to find out what the site was- it is members only and a Google search yields nothing about support....but a lot about how these people make fun of others,have made awful threats, etc.

Never stop learning

A letter to my church family, and to anyone else who might be struggling with this lesson:

First of all, I want to tell the whole church “thank you”.  Some prepared meals, which were dearly appreciated, but all have shared love, support, and prayers in one way or another.

We are so very grateful, and that is also what God laid on my heart to share.

Nick and I both grew up with parents that were diagnosed with terminal illnesses. Though those stories turned out differently for the parents concerned, it was much the same in how it affected us- further proof that God really is preparing you for your mate long before you ever even meet.

 Because of our parents’ illnesses, there were often situations where our parents had to depend on someone else to help take care of the children. That meant that we saw Christian charity in action, on our behalves, pretty early on. However, as we learned a few weeks ago in our Sunday school curriculum, our heart intentions are even more important than our actual actions. While I don’t doubt that caring for us was an added burden to our church family, or that some of the church members did indeed have their hearts set on Christ, we were children, with little listening ears, and when church family and blood family complained about having to take us into their homes, it hurt us.

 As our Pastor has often said, it is often not what hurt a person that leads them away from the church, but who hurt them. This was the case for us; we saw Christians caring for one another, but their attitudes made it clear to us that we were a burden. At different times in our lives, this has either made us leery of relationships with other Christians, or absolutely unwilling to accept help.

I did not want help-not when my husband was deployed and I had my first baby all by myself, or when I was living overseas with no family, no friends, and  no husband, or when I was trying to finish school, with 1,2,3…almost 4 little kids and a husband frequently gone. I would rather struggle along by myself than ask for help- and have to bear feeling like a burden again, like I had as a child.

So two weeks ago, when we were waiting on the Lord to show us the right path for how our new little boy should arrive, things took a significantly different turn than we had envisioned. God promised to show us the way, and he did, and he answered every prayer we lifted up along the way. There were even prayers going up that we didn’t even know about, from people who didn’t even know what was going on at the time. Prayer is powerful, and our God really answers.

Yet, there were so many unexpected turns; the kinds of turns that at first might not appear to be part of answered prayers at all. In the end though, the things that count most were accounted for- namely our little boy’s life. True to his form, God also showed us how those frightening moments were part of his perfect plan.

 I still wasn’t ready to accept help, and wasn’t willing to ask for it. So the Lord allowed complications that would put us in a position where we needed help more than we ever had after one of our babies has arrived. For the first several days, this spinal fluid leak made it hard for me to even look down at Mack to take care of him.

I still didn’t want help- I told the nurse I had a little bit of a head ache. Then Mack was cleared to come home, and Pastor asked if we wanted any help, and true to form, we refused it.

But Pastor in all of his wisdom, and Holy Spirit leading, wouldn’t let us; And all of you stepped up and helped us….and a healing took place.

Not just of our physical bodies (Mack and me) but our spirits (Nick and me).

We felt loved-  And no one made us feel like a burden.

Pastor and Mrs. Layson reminded us, that it is a blessing to give, but if we refuse to receive, we rob others of the chance to bless us and in doing so be blessed.

Then the Lord opened my eyes even wider.

We didn’t want to share with everyone about Mack’s arm or how very close we came to not bringing a baby home at all. We trusted that God had a plan for it, and since we felt faithful, we didn’t want to burden anyone else with it. Again, this is our modus operandi.

Unless we are in a place where our faith is faltering, we almost never share our prayer requests. We keep them to ourselves, to one another. Recall, we don’t like being a burden, or sounding like we are not grateful for all the good we do have.

But this time, regardless of our own peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:7), God used this other situation to impress on us that not sharing our prayer requests is like robbing others of the joy of giving.

If we don’t share our petitions and hurts, even when we are confident that God is caring for them, how can others share in the joy of watching prayers answered?

I justified it thinking that if our prayers weren’t answered in the way that we would expect,  it might hurt someone else’s faith, even if we could appreciate how God might be using the situation.

But I realized that even then, we should all be sharing with one another- the joys of answered prayers and the lessons of prayers answered in God’s time and God’s own way.

So thank you. Not just for how you have taken care of my family in the last couple of weeks, or how you have welcomed our sweet little boy along with us, but for allowing yourselves to be used by the Holy Spirit to heal something in us that we have struggled with for so long. We can already see God working in our tiny boy’s life- healing him and using what happened to him to pull us closer to our church family and closer to him.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New life

It's all around. Life feels especially precious when you are surrounded by those just starting it.

Praise God- in the days since the Dachshund massacre, almost all of our hens have returned. It turns out,they took to the woods,and where we could initially find only 4 hens altogether ( out of 23), all but 5 have returned.
This little sweet pea ( along with a couple of other,totally different looking chicks) is staked out underneath one of the Amercaunas we raised from chickhood. I am glad she survived the Dachshund apocalypse.

These are the first chicks hatched by our own hens....still into a long lists of hoped for firsts, after more than two years here at the MicroFarm. Our new life, niched out among the military landscape.

Just like the rest of my life, I am learning that everything is a work in progress. Patience Mama, patience. It's not all going to be green beans and Boer goats overnight.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Update on the Captain

Monday, we went to the pediatricians office.The Mister met us there.

See, despite the fact that they told us that his nerve injury wouldn't cause pain....we could tell that it was.The family that came to visit could see it too. I felt like I couldn't even dress him..or burp him...without hurting him.

Not a nice feeling.

Of course, when we got to the doctor, he didn't act nearly as bothered by it as we could tell that he was while we were at home.However,they did agree to an x-ray,because of a slight bump at the elbow: though they prefaced it by saying that we were all probably feeling that because we expected to,knowing about the brachial plexus injury on that side of his body.

So we did the x-rays and waited for a call.
Which finally came around 5pm.

Mama and Daddy aren't crazy?!?!?
The little fellow has a break just above the elbow joint.
The pediatrician who called was extremely apologetic,and very careful with her wording when she explained how and when this break could have occurred.

I am grateful, because I realize that when we put the break into context, it's quite certain that the nerve injury is less severe than it has appeared. It also explains why the poor fellow has been such a fussy baby. I was so nervous, that first day, when he cried, almost inconsolably, his first day.

I was asking God to help me be patient, and faithful that he would have a reason to give me such a fusser this fourth time around...when I have finally started homeschooling full-time and feel barely able to keep all of the balls in the air as it is.

Poor baby. He wasn't fussy- he was hurt.
and when I had asked that....they dismissed me.

It makes me so sad that we didn't have our homebirth

That he wasn't born in a place where everyone loves him and treasures him.

and loves the Lord.

But I am reminding myself that God took us there. He made the path clear- especially when the midwife never answered the phone ( or even returned the message).

I just need to be patient.

To be faithful that there is some reason for this to have happened-some reason that outpaces in beauty the hurt my baby had to endure.

Monday, May 14, 2012

...And the Winner is......

Comment # 52, Charlene H. ,
Mother's Day 2012:Goofy faces...Mama,The Wee Captain, The Mister, The Boy,
Miss Fi,
and BumbleTot

who said,"We started because we wanted to save money, but there are so many other reasons why we cloth. Its eco-friendly, cute, and easier than disposables."

Charlene, you sound a lot like me, though I can't always say that I think it is totally easier... :D  it just depends on which stage we are in and what we are up to, I suppose .... thinking about a long trip we are preparing to make.....

                            where I am planning to try out my new Flip covers with some disposable inserts.....

Once I see how it goes, we might just have to try out a review and giveaway... one of the most fun parts of cloth diapering The Captain is that I feel more adventurous with cloth diapering...having fun trying out new styles.

Charlene, I will be contacting you about which diaper you would prefer....
                                                               and thank you everyone for joining the SoulFulls on this fun Mother's Day giveaway !!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Diaper Hop !

The Diaper Hop is almost over !!!

Since tomorrow is Mother's Day...and a day of rest....

I will post the winner Monday....

Let's see which lucky little SoulFull earns the privilege of drawing the number from the hat :D

Friday, May 11, 2012

The rest of the story...

So the Little Captain had an eventful arrival.

The (Big) Boy and The Captain, 5 days old.
Apparently, he did not appreciate those contractions. We have noticed since then that he is particularly sensitive to discomfort; the inconvenienceof a diaper changes can send him takes a while for him to calm down afterwards.So it could be concluded that God blessed us with a short labor not just for my comfort but for the Little fellow's as well.

When he got here, he was not able to breathe on his own, and of course with the meconium, he required some intense suctioning. This was not just a little meconium, and I will spare you the exact details as they are in my mind- but suffice it to say,in my pathetic labor moments, walking into the hospital, I despaired that everyone would think I was going to the bathroom on myself....

However, after getting some help to start breathing, the Little Captain took right to it, was able to transition to 100% room air ( and Mama was finally allowed to ditch her own oxygen mask), and snuggle with his very grateful parents.

That horrible, too quick/too much epidural caused a tear in the sac around my spinal cord, allowing fluid to leak and the most excruciating head/neck/back ache I could ever imagine- infinitely worse than labor pains- otherwise known as a spinal headache. The strength of the dose also caused my blood pressure to go ridiculously low, and the whole thing took far too long to wear off. Paralysis is an absolutely awful feeling, and I feel like my compassion for those afflicted with more permanent paralysis is deeper than ever. I will say again, I cannot imagine why anyone would want one of those on purpose.  BUT praise God, I think he allowed that for a few reasons. Part of that is that it has forced me to slow down, but it has also forced my to accept help. From my church family and from my darling husband. The medical solution to the problem is a blood block- essentially an intentional blood clot near the tear to slow the leak. Instead we chose laying prone with caffeine and intense hydration. It takes the edge off enough for my liking and doesn't involve anything else sharp near my spine. I am grateful to the midwives who did everything they could safely do to help us avoid a c-section. I feel grateful to say that we managed to get my baby out faster naturally than we could have through a c-section.

The Captain  has had some hoarseness from the intubation/suctioning ordeal, so very pathetic in someone so small, but that has now mostly resolved, and he is able to serenade us with healthy-sounding newborn wails...whenever we disturb his slumbers to change his bum.

If you've ever watched Finding Nemo, you should recall that Nemo has a "lucky fin."

This was how the Mister decided to explain The Little Captain to the other little SoulFulls.

Call it providence. I had never even heard of Erb's Palsy before reading Raising Olives.

I've already learned so much from her- I find myself citing things in my everyday life,influences that she has had, through her writing and sharing, as though she is someone I actually know. She's saved me from drowning in mountains of laundry :D

But she has walked this path before me, and maybe it was from reading her story that as soon as I heard the diagnosis ( almost as soon as he was finally handed to me) I automatically felt like everything will be just fine.

At this point, he can grasp weakly with his hand. Maybe God's plan is just to give me a bit of a break with a baby  that will take longer to crawl than the other little SoulFulls did. Maybe something more long term.

I am confident in God's perfect plan for him- not that we haven't struggled at points trying to understand exatly why he got hurt, without an actual shoulder dystocia, and if there was anything we could have done differently. I am grateful that God's path for us led to the hospital, where at least we will never have to wonder if our handling of the birth caused this hurt or if it was unavoidable.

We will never know. But the super protective Mister SoulFull could use some prayers, because I think at some moments, he feels like he failed us. He has always been on board for homebirth, and now I think he is a bigger advocate than myself- though he also recognizes that it was indeed best for us to go to the hospital.

I am excited to see how God will continue using this little boy to teach us, our extended family, our church congregation, (and maybe even beyond that) about the perfection of his plans for us and his absolute faithfulness. be continued :)

Part 1 * Part one is no longer published publicly as it seems to be the source of the issues a certain forum has had with my family.
Part 2
Part 3: God is Gracious

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Farm life interrupting

pause this story ( yes, there is still more), to bring a sad, sad update from the MicroFarm.

This morning, a neighbors dastardly dachshund burrowed beneath a fence, in glacier soil, through stone fortifications devised by the Mister....and created an absolute massacre.

Of the 23 SoulFull hens...there are 4 left.

That little dog worked fast.

The sad part is, we only clipped their wings so that they wouldn't inadvertently end up over that fence where he and his cohorts could get them; it happened to one of our dear Barred Rocks after that family first moved here.

Thanks to the ordeal with Miss Fi, the Mister is not particularly fond of dogs to say the least. It took all of his considerable self-control not to exercise his "right to farm" rights on that little dog.

The Boy is rather upset. He was chief overseer of the chickens, as well as chief "petter". He is the reason our hens act more like cats*. Everyday, we could watch him tend the chores and stoop to hold and stroke this hen or that. He witnessed his Dad's restraint. A good lesson out of this if nothing else I suppose; it illustrated self-control as a fruit of the Spirit very well.

So rest in peace dears. We will miss your antics and your eggs :(

* Before the tragedy, I was going to share an anecdote from yesterday. One which involved The Boy getting too friendly with a hen laying on a nest of chicks...and a well-aimed peck to the kisser. It has just been reported, much to his dismay, that the "mean little black chicken" is still alive and pecking. Good news though, it means her little ones are too.

Birth, part 3 God is gracious

It was like I was literally fighting with the flesh.

I was starting to cry, but one second it would be out of joy, and the next I would be fighting against it being from fear.

But the fear never took over, and I just kept waiting.

and thinking how grateful I was for this child.
And praising God for him.

And just like it happens in every melodramatic movie, we finally heard a sound.

It wasn't a cry at all, but a series of squeaks.
Mister SoulFull had to ask what the sound was at first.

But what a precious sound.

and as soon as I finally got to to see that little face, with those eyes big and open ( albeit very blood shot), we knew his name.

We had been planning for this child, male or female, to be named after other people.

One, an uncle, who is not really an uncle at all, but has lived next door to my husband's grandparents since the beginning of least since before the beginning of the Mister's time. In fact, it was this uncle and his wife who were there to watch the Mister when his little brother was born....this Uncle was there waiting on Finch Street when Grandmama and Grandpapa SoulFull brought the Mister's dad home from the hospital....he has watched the children and grandchildren grow up, move away, come back...he even watched and cried and grieved when the Mister's mom died, even though she and Mister's dad had already been divorced for years. He was even there when we had to bring Miss Fi, our beautiful little girl so badly damaged, home from the hospital after her accident.

He loves our family. He never had one of his own, but he could ( and still can be) counted on to look out for ours, long before I was even part of the clan.He is so very shy, that when I first arrived, they had to talk him into coming over to the grandparents' house to meet me. Little old me. But he has welcomed me into the fold, and for a man so very shy, yet so very devoted to those he cares for, that feels like such a privilege.

And so we knew we wanted to honor this special uncle, whether the baby was a boy or girl.

But God had also placed something else on our hearts. A name that meant more to me for the ones who had carried it before, a certain "Beloved" most of all, than for what the name inherently meant.

But the moment this little boy was born.....

and even more the moment he actually breathed his first....

this name was no longer about simply naming him to honor other people...

Because it essentially means Grateful child of God.

The rest of the story

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


The further we get away from the delivery room, the easier it is to question the perfection of those moments, in all their chaos.

Because just like the disciples that struggled to believe at times, with our Savior tangible before them, our faith is imperfect.

It's humbling to be confronted with that.

The first part of this story seems so rushed. I suppose it was.

That initial need to spill your story forth, before you process order to process it.

Certainly though, the moments didn't feel least not until the point when we saw that meconium, then more so when we saw baby's heart rate( and intermittent lack thereof) on the monitors.

The peace that surpasses all understanding.

Watching my very quiet baby's arm flop again and again to that table.

It was my out of body experience.

Between the epidural, which had me numb to my shoulders, and the oxygen being pumped in the mask, I felt barely present.

But I could see ( a limited view) of what was going on, and I had a vague recognition that it wasn't normal and it wasn't good.

The peaceful homebirth we had been envisioning, suddenly included an entire team of pediatrics staff, forget everyone else already in the room.

YET...yet,there wasn't the disabling fear that I know comes, have experienced come, in a moment when you see your child slipping from here to there.

I had been there before.

When the Mister and I were preparing and discussing for this birth, the significance of two cups of blood came up.

Two cups of blood after birth should cause alarm. More blood loss than that can kill.

I mentioned that maybe we should use some food coloring and water, give us an idea of what that volume looks like on an absorbent pad.

The Mister said that he already had a very good idea of three cups of blood, and I assumed that this was from his medical training.

No, it turns out....after Miss Fi was hurt, the doctor estimated that there was three cups of blood just on Mister SoulFull.

After walking though the miracle of that night for the last 3 years.... I forgot how close we were. Like it was just a story, and maybe it really wasn't as bad as I had felt it was at the time.

Because even though I was incredibly aware of God's presence, even though I knew he had a plan....I was crying out to him because if the plan had included losing my girl, I was telling God he was going to have to hold me upright....because I knew he had this, but I certainly didn't.

I could trust in the magnificence of his plan, and still be mortally terrified of what it would mean to live through it.

My heart is so genuinely grieved, thinking of the mothers, the people, who have had to experience these kinds of things without the blessed assurance of the perfect plans of God.

It takes my breath away.

.......and look at that, I am turning this into quite the saga.....

but I need to put it down, because even more than my need to process what happened, I need to let people know the details, the embarrassing bits and the parts that sound melodramatic, because I just cannot wrap my head around God's goodness.

I can't stand to think that My God was busy being so amazing and faithful, and that there might still have been people in that room that didn't believe.I've seen how the medical establishment tries to explain things away, but then I also realize that no one else in that room, save the Mister, understood the whole road that led to those moments.

At first, I worried that it may have sounded like I was taking the Lord's name in vain.

But I realized that by the end of their interaction with us, that whole staff must have known the difference.

When I give birth, I commune with God. It's the most intense prayer because I need him so desperately.

But this time.....this time it turned from being about my absolute desperate need, and it turned into absolute, desperate gratitude.

Part three

Monday, May 7, 2012


I had resolved early on that I would be careful to make sure that each of my children would have the same amount of baby photos, keepsakes, baby books, and so forth as our first child has. I had always heard and observed that subsequent children just don't have the same number of pictures taken. I would even get defensive when people made such comments once Fi was born, and I went out of my way to make sure that she did indeed have at least as many pictures taken.

For I had assumed, maybe as those commenters had and  maybe not, that less pictures came because the parents didn't value them as much. With a first baby everything is new and magical....and maybe with subsequent babies things are just taken for granted....?

Well, I can now definitively say that is not the reasoning.

I have not taken nearly as many pictures of our little Seahorse since he came home from the hospital, as I did of our other children.

and it is certainly not because I don't appreciate the absolute preciousness of these moments......

it's because I appreciate them more than ever.

Because with my first baby, everything was new and magical...

But now I know that even being the fourth baby doesn't make you any less new and magical

and now I know, from experience, just how fast time quickly these newborn faces change, and too-big socks become too small.....

so I am not taking as many pictures, because I am so busy trying to take those pictures with my eyes, my heart,my every fiber- that I can soak up as much of this preciousness as possible.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Captain Seahorse has arrived !

The Little captain made his debut at 8:13 pm May 2nd.

Captain I.M SoulFull
7.7 lbs, 20 inches

We had been convicted that we should just follow God's birth plan, and that the Holy Spirit would make it obvious which path we were supposed to take. So, we were physically prepared for multiple options, but emotionally, we realize we were set on a home birth. Funny how we can get a specific idea of what it will look like to trust in God :D

We already know God is good,but preserving our little boy's life and health has been a beautiful reminder of his faithfulness. I look forward to sharing the story of this birth.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

It's the Final Countdown

So....I have a certain bad 80's song stuck in my head. It makes me think of the Mister when we were in high school. He, inexplicably, picked this song for an interlude on a show we were working on. Now 12 years later,  I can't hear the words "final countdown" without the riff playing through my head.

Tomorrow begins the 38th week of my pregnancy. The little SoulFulls were all born this week. 38 and 2 days, 38 even, and 38 and one 1 day, in order.

So it might just be because of that, but I feel the "birth aura" lingering about. Like I have just days to go- I'm walking through the last moments of life before an epic in the days leading up to our wedding...where I thought nothing would change, and yet knew everything would change, all at the same time.

I am trying to wrap my head around mothering four children. The practical aspects of it. The feeling of a newborn wrapped close to my chest, yet again, while I handle the daily chores, joys, and woes of mothering the three little darlings I have.

I think of each of them, and how they were so close and yet so intangible as every pregnancy neared its end...and yet within days of birth, I would marvel how it already felt like he/she had been part of our family forever. Like I already couldn't remember what life was like before this little person was a constant part.

With all the Lord has worked with me on, this little soul, our Captain Seahorse, has been something I couldn't imagine going without. I have a post in my drafts, something I wrote a year and half or more ago, about this imaginary little person. A person I was struggling over, because I didn't want bitterness, or to manipulate my husband into something...I just wanted to be content with what God had given me...and to stop feeling so attached to this person that didn't exist.

And God made me content.

And then he blessed us.

And here we are. Whether I am right or not, the time until there are 6 SoulFulls is very limited. I have that fourth carseat in the car now....trying to help me wrap my mind around my upcoming reality.

I am nervous. I am excited. I have this electric-like current of gratitude flowing through my body that my Lord saw fit to allow me, who fails so often, to mother another little soul.

This week I gave myself a self-proclaimed pajamas week ( I cancelled all appointments and never left the was much needed)... I am rather cat-like in my pregnancies; towards the end I look for a dim, solitary place, where I don't have to see anyone or talk to anyone, but can just focus on the task at hand.

But then while the fellows were arriving to help Mister with some farm work ( they built a beautiful new gate to the farm yard), one of my dear friends showed up to whisk me away. She even brought my mother along, who was here unexpectedly.

They truly surprised me. It was small and intimate, and it was my very first baby shower. My dear friend decorated everything with little seahorse pictures, and another friend made a seahorse cake. It was darling. I felt so loved, hat they cared so much that I had a baby shower, and that they cared so much to go to such lengths to surprise me.

I am so grateful for my family and for the friends God has put in my life. I had so many lonely, lonely years. My best friend in the world was often deployed to a far away country, or otherwise inaccessible because of the military....and I just wasn't good at making friends. Especially once e moved back to the states.

During my last pregnancy ( this is so pathetic) my poor midwife WAS my only friend. At the end, I gave her a felt like she deserved a bonus for being not only my caregiver but my only confidant. Try to get that in the mainstream health system :D

In the last year and a half, God has provided so much. A church family I was hungering for. Ladies fellowship I was hungering for....and it all culminates with this precious little one that I was trying so hard not to hunger for.

Looking so forward to posting a birth announcement here in the very near future ;)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mother's Day Cloth Diaper Giveaway !

Mother's Day is almost here and we are celebrating with our love for cloth diapers!
Welcome to the Mother's Day Cloth Diaper Giveaway Hop hosted by Daily Mothering! Nearly 100 blogs have linked up to bring you dozens and dozens of exciting cloth diaper giveaways. Enter my giveaway below and then hop to the other blogs listed at the bottom of this post to enter their fluffy giveaways too! Each blog has a cloth diaper prize valued at $15 or more, and many blogs have prize packs worth over $100. And, don't forget to enter the GRAND PRIZE giveaway at Daily Mothering for your chance to win this amazing $1300 Cloth Diaper Prize Pack!

  In celebration of becoming a Mama x 4 just in time for Mother's Day, I am participating in the Daily Mothering Cloth Diaper Giveaway Hop!

  Up for grabs is an itti bitti d'lish All in One Limited Edition print
                                                                                                    size medium ( R.V. $19)!

                   Eton Print                                                                                    Galaxy Print
bitti d'lish All in One - Medium - Galaxybitti d'lish All in One - Medium - Eton

 These are so soft and so adorable ! I am planning on using one of these to do some "newborn in a diaper" pictures once the Wee Captain Seahorse arrives ;)
 In my opinion, they are definitely suited to those warm summer days coming up; baby can relax in just a t-shirt and  diaper... Stay cool and show off that cute fluff ! You have the choice of one of those cute prints above, all you have to do is comment !

Tell me about why you did or want to start cloth diapering :) Was it about costs? Health? the Environment? or just all of the crazy, fluffy cuteness ?

For me, it started with costs. I was a young, broke Mama, and I was trying to figure out how to stretch my Honey's paycheck. I didn't think I could afford to use any of the new, exciting cloth diapers out there. However, I soon realized that with some good bargain hunting, I could do just that- making cloth diapering not only cheap, but easy.
As I added children to the family and our finances stabilized, I also learned more about my own values ( amazing how that happens when just making end's meet doesn't consume all of your energy...) and cloth diapering became more of a conviction. I value my children's health and getting back to the way that God intended the world to be, without manufactured chemicals and trash adorning our bodies.

At the end of the giveaway, one comment will be randomly picked, through the super high-tech method of "number in a hat." :) Maybe I can turn it into a little bit of homeschooling incentive and see which child will get to do the honors :D The winner will be announced and contacted for a shipping address ASAP :)
* This giveaway is self-sponsored...these are just too cute not to share, and I love getting other people on board the cloth diaper choo-choo train :)