I came across this picture the other day and it has been fun to reflect on what life was like last time we had a baby compared with now. In this picture Peter was just 6, Kate was 5, Maddie was 3, Ella was 1 1/2, and Charlotte was 4 months and I'm not sure we had really started thinking about adoption yet (that's my sister, here husband, and their oldest with us). My days were busy in a completely different way than they are now. I had to do almost everything myself during the day. Meaning, the kids' "help" wasn't always so helpful. Those were the days when people gave us strange looks everywhere we went because they couldn't imagine why anyone would want to have 5 kids in 6 years (people still give us strange looks but it's because they can't quite figure us out). I think we were at the point when many people say "enough already. no more babies. this is too much work." Well, we plugged onward and starting the adoption process sometime in the next year. That led to a period of waiting for our family to grow as we looked forward to bringing Teshome home. Then when Charlotte was 2 1/2, he was here and we were 8. Here's the first picture of all 8 of us.
We had a period of adjusting that was often painful, but also a great joy. Then 2 1/2 years later, Silas was born. At that point it had been 5 1/2 years since we had a baby and it is so amazing to me how different it is now than when we had so many "littles." It is so much easier to have a baby now that we have older children who are such a great help to me. And it is so incredibly beautiful to see the love they have for our precious baby. I have time to enjoy him in a different way than when everyone needed me for everything. I see this even in the little things. When I'm feeding him I can just watch him and enjoy those moments of him discovering new foods- instead of feeling like I need him to hurry up and finish so I can tackle the next thing. There's always someone available to help. All this to say, if you feel overwhelmed, it does get better. When we work at training the littles during those crazy years, before we know it they are a very important part of a home running smoothly. As our children grow and mature, we are seeing in so many ways how they truly are a blessing. Don't let the world's lies creep in and convince you that having a large family is too much work , too expensive, too much of a commitment, or will keep you from personal happiness. The rewards are far greater than a peaceful existence, travel to faraway places, earthly possessions, or anything else the world says that children get in the way of. We are storing up treasures in heaven and these treasures bring great joy and delight to our lives on this earth!
Where did the last three months go? I hold this baby as much as possible because I truly know now how quickly the sweet baby days fade into toddlerhood, then preschool. Then all of a sudden he'll be 11 and talking about finishing high school early so he can get to law school- or whatever the Lord puts in this one's mind to do. One of my favorite songs, by artist, Christa Wells, has a line about missing the "downy top of your head." I am so very grateful to God for allowing us the joy of a baby in our home again and I breathe in the scent of his downy head often. He has his first cold right now which is sad, but also sweet how he just wants his mama's arms. I think sometimes a sick baby is a way for God to slow us mom's down and remind us of the most important things.
Three months today
a little sneeze
a little cough
he discovered the exersaucer this week
how big is silas?
I never meant to let the blog be quiet for so long. But we moved and the baby was born and I guess I just didn't make it a priority- again. So, soon I'll get some baby pictures up here. For now, here's a bit of an update.
Silas Jacob was born on April 26, weighing 10 lbs, 5 oz. He is a delightful, chubby, happy (as long as I avoid dairy and coffee) baby. Everyone is deeply in love with him and he gets tons of attention and kisses all day long.
We are enjoying being in our new home and having space to spread out a bit more and entertain more comfortably.
Right now we are at the beginning of a 3 week school break which the children are very excited about. They are filling their time by playing at the neighborhood playground right across the street, reading, sewing (Kate), playing with legos, and using their tickets for screen time. Tickets? Yes, tickets and why didn't I do this sooner? On Sunday I gave each of them 4 raffle type tickets for the week and told them they can use the tickets Monday-Friday for 30 minutes of computer, wii, or TV time. Usually we really limit screen time and save it for weekends, but occasionally I give them time during the week to do computer games or play wii- especially if the weather is yucky. It is working so well! Now when one kids asks to use the computer they don't all follow. That scenario was annoying and nearly impossible because at 20 or 30 minutes per kid it ended up being 2 or 3 hours of the computer being used. We don't have chunks of time for that! Now they are all paying attention, planning carefully, and trying to use their tickets wisely. We'll still let them have Saturday morning Netflix cartoon time all together and Saturday after housework wii time together without using tickets, but I think we'll continue this for their weekly screen time. Maybe they'll get less tickets though once school starts again.
I had to take Silas for his 2 month check up and shots this morning. Thankfully, he has chunky thighs to help absorb the pain! Stay tuned for pictures of chunkiness :)
10 1/2 weeks.
That's the amount of time I have before my due date. All of my babies were late except for Charlotte who decided to come 3 weeks early and totally mess up my "routine." I was thrilled to have her early, but also shocked and not exactly prepared. In fact, I had to send a dear friend to Target with a list while I was still in the hospital because I didn't even have some of the necessities yet.
So, I have 10 1/2 weeks, more or less, to be ready for this blessed event. I am so excited to meet my tiny little man. I am so excited to dress him in the cute little orange and blue things I've been collecting and the things I've been knitting for him. I am so excited that I get to experience having a baby BOY again after all these years of girl babies. I am so excited to wear him in my sleepy wrap and keep him to myself.
But in the midst of all of that excitement, I'm feeling a bit of stress too. I have 10 1/2 weeks to complete 9 1/2 weeks of our Tapestry of Grace curriculum. I REALLY want to finish it before baby comes so I can feel right taking a true BREAK from teaching. The kids will still have work to do each day that they can mostly do without my help, but our bulky, wonderful, intense school days will be done. But in that time our house will be ready (2-3 weeks from now) so we'll have to take some time off from school to move. I want to be NESTING.... not UN-NESTING!!