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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Gary

Today Daniel's dad would have been 51.  His death was less than 5 months ago and I know that sometimes the hurt in that family is still very raw.  But today I think back one year.  I remember how sick he was, how tired, and I know that today his energy never diminishes and his body never hurts.  Hearts are still mending here over his passing, but he is healed eternally.

Duggars' Baby #20

I read today of the memorial service Jim Bob and Michelle held for their tiny stillborn daughter and then I made the huge mistake of reading some of the comments (although not all 113 pages of them).  I have to wonder where the respect for human life is and how it came to be that the entire world is so critical.  I suppose in writing this post that I may be a hypocrite as I am indeed critical of some of those commentors.  I have often thought that perhaps the backlash against large families and conservative christian families came from an underlying guilt.  Sometimes when we feel a calling to something that is out of the ordinary and we choose not to follow that calling, we end up bad-mouthing those who have followed it.  But today I am seeing the negativity as a direct result of culture and nothing more.  You cannot feel a conviction without a relationship with God (and He tells us that what we do will seem foolish to unbelievers).  I wonder how many people make their lifestyle choices based on what is publicly acceptable.  I feel like I should almost hide my family away as they suggest that all of us "conservative weirdos" are doing any way, so that we don't have to face the ugliness of their ideas.  Should I be afraid of doing what I feel called to do because of what society says?  I desire to stand   boldly for Christ, but I know in following through I will have many of the same things that are being said about the Duggar family said about my own.  I know that we won't be able to give all of our children all that the world says that they deserve, our children will have to learn responsibility at a young age (that's another thing: who says that the older children in large families work because they are forced to?  Isn't it possible that responsibility is an ingrained trait that society doesn't allow to develop in their self absorbed culture?).  I know that with each "successful" pregnancy my chance of eventually "running out of luck" (as the world would say) and having a difficult pregnancy or even losing a child goes up.  Am I willing to sacrifice my comfort, my health, my future for unborn children?  It is possible that those children could grow up and reject our family and reject the God who created them.  Is it worth it?  I say it is.  What do you say?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Love

I have been hearing much about love lately from several different websites and blogs to my own husband.  I am certain of a few things concerning it...

1.  It is the greatest commandment
2.  It is often traded in for the law even though love overcame the law
3.  For many churches it is an all or nothing thing.  Either you preach only love or you don't mention it and stick to the nitty gritty of daily christian life.

To me, love had always seemed straight-forward...until recently.  I suppose it was straight-forward because I never really thought about what I believe on the topic.  Now, though, I have.  I think that since love-for God and each other-is the greatest commandment, then every thing, every idea, every tradition or conviction we have or do ought to be based in love.  If I dressed modestly and wore my hair long because I thought it would make me a better Christian then I Should Not Do It!  I do these things because I believe that they please my Heavenly Father and just like a little child I desire to please my Father because of the Love He has shown to me.  I also think that there needs to be a balance in the church although I'm not exactly sure how that should look.  I love to hear messages on daily Christian life because that is where I am and what I need on a weekly (daily, hourly, second-by-second) basis, but I think there should be an underlying message of love to each of those messages.  We do this because we Love Him.  We don't do that because it doesn't please the One we Love.  He deals with us in this manner because of His great Love for us.  We should raise our children in this way because we want to train them to Love God and we want them to learn that Love from what they receive from us.  Who ever though this could be such a confusing topic!?  I want to stay away from legalism and yet I believe that there are rules and commandment besides love, otherwise it would be the only commandment not the greatest, right?  Any thoughts would be appreciated...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Today

...Emma is sick.  She either has a virus or a reaction to her 4 month vaccines.  We are trying to get her fever down, but she does NOT like medicine (and the medicine is making her tummy hurt).

...We are going to look at another little car for Dan to drive to work.

...We are in desperate need of groceries, so I'll have to break down and go shopping.

...I am in awe of how quickly my children grow up.  Is there enough time to tell them I Love You enough?  Enough time to teach them all they need to know before they go out into the world?  I would love to hold them longer and yet they won't slow down!

...I am finally getting excited about Christmas.  I am infinitely excited that it is on a Sunday this year and we will be able to spend it in church!

...I am dreading calling our pastor to tell him that we won't be in church again tomorrow.  We haven't been there in a month because of vehicle trouble (we only had one running and Dan had to get to work) and now we are going to have to stay home and take care of sickies tomorrow.  I'm thankful that we have Wednesday night services that we can go to, as well.

...I feel oh-so-Blessed!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Still Here...

I haven't written lately and there are a few reasons why...

1.  We're busy
2.  My computer has been giving me fits
3.  Even though we are busy, there really isn't anything new happening

So, I have been spending my days enjoying my little ones and trying desperately to remember all the adorable things they say and do.  Of course we are all (or maybe just the kids) enjoying the anticipation leading up to Christmas!

Monday, November 7, 2011

In Our House...

Boo-Boos Abound...


As do smiles...



Kids fight over babies...



We're silly...






 Brothers and sisters love each other...



October Snow

Okay...another late in coming post.  Most everyone who reads this blog either lives in this area or knows that we had an "unseasonable" winter storm over a week ago.  Here some photos of the kids and Dan having some fun.  Emma and I are the smart ones...we stayed inside and watched out the window!  I wish I would have gotten some pics of them sledding in the backyard, but Miss Emma was hungry, so we missed out on that one.







He Passed!

This post is a little late in coming, but everything seems to be that way lately.  I wanted to let everyone know that Dan passed his class b commercial drivers licence test on October 22.  Many of you know that Daniel was laid off in May for what was supposed to be a month-long lay-off which stretched until the second week in September.  During that time, a precious friend of ours decided that Daniel needed a more secure job...one that he could find work for all the time, one that didn't require him to be inside a windowless building for 8 hours a day, one that paid a fair wage, one that gave him a skill, and one that allowed him to have Sundays with his family again.  He also knew of Dan's great longing to drive truck like his dad had.  So, he decided in order to help us out that he would purchase a tri-axle dump truck which Dan could then drive in order to make a living.  I am so proud of him that he passed this test (which he was pretty nervous about) on the first try with flying colors.  Now, we are just waiting to get all of the logistics worked out before he is able to completely leave his factory job and move on to this new opportunity.  Thank you all for your prayers during the past few months as he has worked toward this!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Busy, Busy

So often I think of something I want to write about...it's just finding the time that is difficult!  We had a busy time last weekend.  On Friday, my dear mama and brother and soon to be sister in law came to spend the night and we all loaded up bright and early Saturday morning to go with the Cub Scouts to CASS railroad in West Virginia.  It was definitely a long drive, but we had such a good time.  The weather was wonderful with a nip in the air that made it really feel like fall and the train ride was beautiful.  From there, my family headed for home (5 hours away) and we went on to the Green Bank Telescope, part of the National Radio Astronomy Organization.  It was interesting to see the massive radio telescopes, to be in the radio dead zone (No Cell Phone Service!) and to learn about ways that radio astronomy has advanced the medical field.  Unfortunately, I wouldn't go back and I wouldn't recommend it for other Christians because so many of their theories that were put in front of the children we know aren't true because of what the Bible tells us.  From there, we started our long trek home.  We made it about two hours into the trip before we started having meltdowns in the back seat.  So, we decided to stop and stay the night in a motel.  For once I was prepared when we left the house with plenty of extra food (including 3 pizzas I had baked to take along and eat cold for dinner) and clothing.  We only had to stop for a few extra things and we were set.  After some hunting, we finally found a nice room at a reasonable price...the last one in that particular hotel and from what we could tell, one of the last ones in the area!  God was so good to allow us a comfortable night before we eventually made it home Sunday afternoon!  (I will say that all 6 of us in 1 room makes bed time take a whole lot longer.  And I was so thankful that the beds were queen sized since I ended up with Elizabeth, Aaron and Emma in one bed.  Dan says he was just as squished in his bed with Alex, but I'm not sure.)

On Tuesday we were able to watch "How I Became A Pirate" a production put on by the Children's Round About Theater, which is a part of the FSU drama department.  I think my two oldest especially enjoyed it while the little ones enjoyed and entire hour on mama's lap without her worrying about what needed done.  So, we are now trying to work ourselves back into a routine!

We are so thankful, even with all of the busyness, to be able to enjoy these types of experiences with our children.  We wouldn't have it any other way!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What's the Cost?

The first report issued on the cost of raising a child to age 17 (remember that this doesn't include college) in 1960 stated the total cost to be $25,000.  Today most experts agree that the number is $300,000 or more.  It would take Daniel 12 years to earn that amount...enough to provide for 1 child!  According to babycenter.com, a child's first year of life should cost over $10,000 including childcare.  Now, Emma's first year is bound to be less expensive than a first-born's (something not seemed to be taken into account from most sources), but even a first baby doesn't have to be expensive.  This is what was spent for Alex before he was born...

Car seat/stroller $20 (thank you, Mom!)
Crib/Mattress $0 (thank you, Aunt Suz)
cloth diapers $50
clothing less than $20 (many were given to us)

Expensive?  Nope!  Fancy?  Nope!  Suitable?  Definitely!

I am on a quest to prove this theory of expense wrong.  For the next several months, I will be totalling what we spend on everything...every last purchase and I will let you know what the total comes to for four children.  Of course, this won't be starting from scratch.  Our freezers and pantry are full, I have clothing in the closet, diapers in the drawers, toys in every room of the house, Christmas gifts purchased, etc. but this would be considered "on-going" expenses.  We will need more food, more clothing, transportation, school supplies and more.  Not to mention all of the non-necessary expenses...field trips, restautant meals, and on and on the list goes.  I'm excited to see what the total comes to.  Any guess how much we will spend per child in 3 months?

Emma and Zack

Dan's brother and his precious family stopped in last night. We were so excited to get to see them!  Little Zack is just less than a month younger than Emma and we had fun comparing them.  Here are some pictures...

I think she's still got him beat a little bit in the size department.


Everyone was thrilled to FINALLY have a first cousin...




...Even Emma!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Please Watch this Movie!

I would love for you to go to heartchanger.com and watch the 180 Movie. You will see people go from pro-choice to pro-life in seconds.  What could be so powerful as to make them reconsider their worldview many times in less then a minute?  Watch and see.  The movie is 33 minutes long and worth every second.

http://www.heartchanger.com/

Friday, September 30, 2011

Too Much Quiet!

Daniel took Alex and Elizabeth to a cub scout camp-out tonight.  The entire family was invited, but we felt like it was too cold for our littlest ones.  Half an hour after they left, I was so bored!  I had all my laundry done and dishes cleared away.  Now what?  I don't like this feeling of being separated!  I had forgotten, though, how peaceful, and quiet, and easy two children can be.  Here I thought that my everyday was the same as everyone else's everyday, regardless of family size, but maybe I was wrong.  It has been a joy, though, to get to spend some one-on-one time with Aaron...the first since Emma was born.  He is such a sweetie and his personality is becoming more and more evident all the time.  He's a ham!  I guess there is good in every situation.  So although I am missing Daniel and my kiddos, I am thankful for the time that they are getting to have there (even though I just talked to Dan and he said they are all freezing!) as well as the time that we are enjoying here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Emma: Two Months

Emma was two months old on the 21st.  We can't believe how much she has grown or how much our love for her has grown!  She is such a little sweetie!

God Provides

Our lives are filled with ways that we have seen God provide for us...abundantly!  One of the most recent is our "new" piano.  We've had a goal to get Alex started on music lessons this year, but had no idea where we would get a piano (especially one that would actually play in tune) or where we would put one if we got one.  But because God is great, we found a nice piano in the newspaper for free and our living room somehow managed to squeeze one more thing into it!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What's in a Name?

We finally received Emma's verification of birth (not the birth certificate-we have to order those and they are $24!) and upon reading the fine print on the bottom, discovered that we are actually permitted by law to change our child's name at any time within one year of her birth.  Thankfully, we don't need to do that.  But it made me once again think about the process we go through to name each of our children.  I know some people wait until a child is born to decide on a name, but I'm not that patient.  We try to have names decided on by the time we get to our twenty week ultrasound.  Of course, the process of actually choosing that name is decidedly emotional and even difficult.  I like to say that we name our boys to be presidents and our girls to be princesses.  We also want to make sure that our children won't look at us one day and ask exactly what we were thinking when we named them something ridiculous.  Then, as we think of names, we research their meaning because I think it's important that the meaning of a name fits what you desire that child to be.  So, here is the rundown of what our children's names mean and what we hope that will translate to in their lives. 

Alexander Paul-  Alexander means Defender of the People and Paul means small;humble.  So Alex is our Humble Little Defender.  That is definitely a goal that we have for his life and being the oldest child, we are providing him with plenty of practice!

Elizabeth Anne- Elizabeth means dedicated to God and Anne means full of grace.  We did have to dedicate Elizabeth to God even before her birth.  When I was 18 weeks pregnant, my doctor was unable to find her heartbeat and we didn't know if she was alive.  We were so scared!  We also pray that she will be graceful in her life.

Aaron James- Aaron means strong.  The meaning of James that we use is "to replace".  Our hope is that Aaron will be strong in doing what is right and that he will help to replace evil with good in the world.

Emma Joy-  Emma means complete and Joy is self explanatory.  Emma is our fourth child and so is the one that kind of put us into the large family category by many people.  We are asked so often why we have more than the average 1.7 children and how we are still semi-sane.  Emma's name is why.  Not only her, but each child is a COMPLETE JOY!  Emma, as an individual, definitely lives up to her name.  She is so laid back and easy going.  So peaceful and she brings so much joy to our home and family.

Family Culture

I recently read the book The Little Boy Down the Road: Short Stories and Essay on the Beauty of Family Life by Douglas W. Phillips.  The third chapter is entitled The Art of Homeschool Opera: The Blessing of Family Eccentricities.  This was something that I had never thought about before but can't get out of my mind now.  So many times we see other families (real, TV, catalog, etc) and assume that every perfect family looks and acts and talks the same.  We are WRONG.  In reality, our family can be perfect for us and be completely different from any other.  Basically, there are things that are passed down through families that tie generations together.  We've all seen families where several generations seem so much alike.  Maybe they all stand the same way or laugh the same way or use strange terminology...you name it.  Anyone who knows me knows that I like to be a perfectionist and so when it came to my family, allowing those strange things to go on another generation wasn't all that high on my priority list.  Since I read this book, however, I have come to understand the importance of the family culture and I've been noticing some of them in our own family.  I desperately want my children to think generationally.  And I want them to be tied to the generations that came before them.  It doesn't matter if some of our habits are totally out there because they are common to us!  I encourage you to embrace your family's eccentricities and maybe even work to make them last!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nothing New Under the Sun

I read on article on the Jeub Family's website today (http://www.jeubfamily.com/) and I thought it profound enough to pass along here.  The jist is that sometimes we get the feeling that what we are going through is something that no one else has ever experienced.  It is sometimes difficult for us to continue to trust God in all areas of our lives (including fertility) because we feel so little support.  We have even been guilty of saying things like, "Oh, I wish I lived in a time when large families were the norm," or other things to that effect.  But the fact is that people have always been the same.  There have always been poor families struggling along and accepting God's blessings and the accompanying responsibility.  There have always been others who stared and wondered if those families were indeed crazy, never realizing the incredible fulfillment of their lives.  Below is a quote on the topic from Martin Luther.

“Although it is very easy to marry a wife, it is difficult to support her along with the children and the household. Accordingly, no one notices this faith of Jacob. Indeed, many hate fertility in a wife for the sole reason that the offspring must be supported and brought up. For this is what they commonly say: ‘Why should I marry a wife when I am a pauper and a beggar? I would rather bear the burden alone and not load myself with misery and want.’ But this blame is unjustly fastened on marriage and fruitfulness. Indeed, you are indicting your unbelief by distrusting God’s goodness, and you are bringing greater misery upon yourself by disparaging God’s blessing. For if you had trust in God’s grace and promises, you would undoubtedly be supported. But because you do not hope in the Lord, you will never prosper.”
Martin Luther
Luther’s Works, Vol. 5, p.332

Monday, September 12, 2011

Poems for Grandma

Below are three poems written by Daniel's grandma, Mary, for her mother (Dorothy Garber)...

When a mother bares her children
Her flesh and soul divides,
And the pain that long prevailed
Deep within her heart she hides.

And yes, this precious little one
Has a mother who knows best.
Knows and feels that bonding to her
As he's feeding at her breast.

Oh...those busy days of tying shoes
And wiping little noses,
Only God could tell her then
She was cultivating roses.

And those anguished tense filled hours
As she waits and walks the floor
For her teenaged son or daughter
To come walking thru the door.

As they travel down that road called "life"
Her prayer will always be,
That God will grant faith, hope, and love
And life eternally.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you, Mom!

For memories that go beyond the years
Thank you for the home made bread
that always brought the cheers.
Thank for the sewing you've done for my family
Thanks for being just the mom a mother ought to be.

God sees your happy face.  He sees your lovely smile.
God cares wehn you are sick.  He cares that you get well.
Some where along the way your faith will see you thru.
And only then will God ascend ro bring your troubles through.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There never was a burden
There never was a care
That Mother couldn't conquer
That Mother couldn't bare.

Along the path of tender years
She bore her family chores.
She birthed and raised eleven
happy healthy girls and boys.

And from the way of poverty
She struggled and survived.
Knowing all that it was well
For the Lord was by her side.

Where'er my feet may lead me
What ever be my song
May it echo down through eternity
These words:  I love you, Mom.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Sad Farewell...

Grandma (Dorothy) Garber, whose picture I had posted before in my five generation post, passed away on Thursday at 8:52 PM.  She fought her battle with cancer with a peace that I haven't often seen.  Grandma knew that this world wasn't truly her home and she allowed very little to get her down.  Most often, she was found in front of her sewing machine with a smile on her face...she even gifted us with blankets for Emma only a month ago.  When I entered Dan's family 7 years ago, Grandma was the one who made me feel most welcome.   She was the mother of 11 children.  The bible talks of a Godly mother whose children will "rise up and call her blessed."  That was certainly true of Grandma.  All 10 of her remaining living children deeply respected and cared for their mother and her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren did as well.  Most people take the idea of us believing God to provide for a large family with a laugh...not grandma.  When each pregnancy was announced in that family, Grandma praised God along with us.  And we know she would have continued to rejoice with us even as our family grew.  I am so thankful to have gotten to be a part of Grandma's family and to have gotten to know her as a sister in the Lord. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Big New Bed

Today we moved Aaron into a toddler bed because he has seemed ever-so-unhappy in his crib for a while.  I think he likes it!


And of course the danger of walking across it is an added bonus for our little wild man!





Sweet dreams, big boy...

Friday, August 26, 2011

So Big!

Today was Emma's 1 month doctor's appoinment.  Although we had no reason to believe that anything was wrong, it is still always a relief to hear the doctor say that all is well.


Today's stats...

11 lbs 4 ozs  (87th percentile)
23.75 inches (above 90th percentile)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Five Generations

This is a photo of our kids with their great-great-Grandma Garber.  This is Dan's mom's mom's mom.  How's that for confusing?

Emma Joy

Emma is our newest little addition to the family.  She was born on July 21st at 8:07 AM.  She weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce and was 21 inches long.  Emma is growing so quickly!  Here she is as a newborn...


at two weeks....


and today at one month...



Aaron

It's hard to believe that little Aaron is 17 months old today.  He is everyone's buddy.  When we take Aaron to church, he gets fought over!

Elizabeth

Elizabeth, or Princess Elizabeth as she would like to be known, is three years old!  She is our little mommy.

Alexander

Alex is now six and a half!  I'm not exactly sure how that happened, but he insists it's true.


Right now, he is so excited to be starting Cub Scouts on Tuesday. 

A New Blog

Ahh...a fresh new blog.  I enjoyed writing on the shutterfly share page, but I've decided to go to something a little easier to use.  My goal in this blog is to be able to encourage other wives and moms.  Let me know if you have any suggestions!