Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Verse for Bob

A few words jumped out at Leslie today in reference to Bob.

2 Corinthians 6:9 - ...As unknown, and yet well known...

Slightly different context, but we thought it was a good description of our knowledge of Bob.

One More Thing....

There's one more thing that needs to be said before Bob makes his or her appearance: The midwife believes that this baby is a girl, because of the fast heartbeat. Also, everyone keeps telling Mom that they think she's having a boy because of the way she's carrying the baby ... which is what they all said when Mom was pregnant with Shannon and with me, who are - of course - both girls.

No more contractions yet today. I guess Bob has decided to stay out of sight a little longer.

A Bob Update - And a Night Out to Dinner

Yesterday, Mom went to see the midwife. Nicole doesn't think that Bob is going to be in there for much longer! In fact, she thinks that we'll be able to finally meet Bob before the week is out!

Mom has been having lots of contractions here and there, but has not actually gone into real labor yet. We've had a few false alarms, though!

So, basically, we're expecting Bob probably today or tomorrow. It seems so strange! We've been waiting for so long, but at the same time it seems like the time since we found out in June has flown by. Everyone in our family can't wait to meet their new little brother or sister, son or daughter!

Last night, a wonderful former neighbor of ours (who now lives in a retirement home) invited us out to dinner where she lives. (Thank you, "Aunt" Ferne!) Everyone has been so kind! Grandma made us some soup day before yesterday, and Mrs. Helen is making dinner for us tonight. I'm afraid that everyone is spoiling us, though. : )

"Aunt" Ferne

Shannon is very proud of this picture she took of the flowers we brought Aunt Ferne ... and for good reason!

Dad, Mom, and Bob

Until next time, then! ... At which time we will hopefully be able to send the news that Bob is on his - or her - way!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Baby Bob's Predictions

At breakfast this morning, Shannon handed each of us a little piece of paper.

On it, we each wrote down a date - what day we think Bob will come.

We also wrote down a time - what time of day we think Bob will come.

The next thing we wrote down was a certain number of hours - how long we think Mom will be in labor.

The last thing we wrote was either "boy" or "girl" - obviously our guess as to what gender Bob is.

We each folded up our paper so that no one else would see it, and Shannon collected them. She put them all in a jar, to be opened upon Bob's arrival.

No one knows what anyone else's guesses were, so it'll be very interesting opening all of that up after Bob comes!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Pictures From Today

Since we're having some comparatively cold weather (30-55 degrees), roaring fires are an everyday source of warmth and comfort in our family room. Of course, all of these fires require lots of firewood! Austin was kind enough to give me (Lauren) a lesson in wood-chopping. After a few sorry attempts at chopping wood with the big ax, I decided that in the future I should stick with the somewhat smaller one ... that is, if it ever becomes necessary for me to chop any wood at all. When Austin's around, I'm glad to hand that job over to him!

Are his feet on the ground or not?


Paton has some different ideas about why we're chopping all of this wood. Why, imagine having a whole pile of chew toys, right there for the grabbing! As soon as a piece got chopped, she had to get in there and drag it off to sample it. We're going to have to somehow teach her a wholesome fear of that ax. She kept rushing in and trying to grab it in her mouth.

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Bob's diapers came in today!

Wow, it's strange to think that a little baby - another member of our family! - is going to be wearing those in just a few short weeks, Lord willing!

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This evening, we had some wonderful chicken soup! It was a corporate effort. A fire in the family room, all four of us working on dinner in the kitchen, music playing ... it all makes for a very cozy atmosphere!

The family cooks (minus the one who doubles as family photographer)

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Blessings from our family to yours!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

An Update on Bob

At 38 weeks, Mom's doing well and has been quite a "trooper." Given her propensity for delivering her babies early, we're expecting Bob to arrive in approximately 10 days. But who knows?

All the baby things are prepared, and all we're lacking is the baby! Ravel thinks that we set the bassinet up just for her.

On Tuesday, the midwife came to check up on Mom and set up the tub. Mom's having a water birth, which she is very excited about! She really likes her midwife, Nicole, because she takes such a personal interest in her "patients." Why, on Tuesday, she was at our house for no less than five-and-a-half hours! We all had a wonderful time visiting with her.

Midwife meets Snake

Mom and Nicole

Everything else here continues to go on as normal ... well, almost normal.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Mom's (Bob's) Baby Shower

Mom very much wanted to get these pictures up soon so that Grandma and Grandpa A could see them. Well, Grandma and Grandpa, here they are! We love you!

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January 13, Leslie and Lauren, in cooperation with a long-time, dear friend, Mrs. Helen, hosted a baby shower for Mom.

Lauren and Leslie did the baking and helped with the coordinating, and Mrs. Helen provided the drinks, decorations, her home, and her valuable experience in hosting parties.

When Leslie and Lauren arrived at the door to help set up, they were greeted with one of Mrs. Helen's unique and special creations.

How cute!

As always, Mrs. Helen had a seemingly never-ending supply of fresh flowers, beautiful dishes, and generous hospitality!

^^The baby shower hostesses^^

Lots of little girls were in attendance, all eager to help Mom with the gifts.

Before opening gifts, Lauren (who, incidentally, is writing this post) gave a "speech" in tribute to Mom. It was posted on Sunday on her blog, More Precious Than Rubies, and today we copied it onto here. Here is the post from Lauren's blog:

As most of you may know, my mom is due to deliver her fifth child sometime in February. Yesterday, Leslie and I, with the invaluable help of a dear friend, Mrs. Helen, hosted a baby shower for her. Leslie and I, in the course of our planning, considered various baby shower games and activities. Somehow, they all seemed meaningless and trite. What could we do that would make this baby shower special for Mom and do justice to her endless wonderful qualities and remarkable character?

Proverbs 31:28 speaks thus of the virtuous woman, "Her children arise up and call her blessed...." Since we are indeed the children of a virtuous woman, I was thankful for this opportunity to publicly arise up and call my mother blessed.
The following is roughly the "speech" I delivered in tribute to my virtuous mother:

The story of this special baby begins about four years ago, when my parents surrendered a particular area of their lives to the Lord. This was the area of having children. At first, Mom was rather intimidated by this decision and everything it might entail. You see, at forty-two, Mom was past the age that most women would even consider bringing new children into the world. Although she was willing to have more children if the Lord saw fit, she was not particularly eager.

Several years went by, and it seemed evident that our family would forever be a family of six.

In May of 2006, we had the privilege of attending American Vision's Worldview Superconference. The first person we met there was a man by the name of Gene. We started talking with him, and in the course of the conversation we asked how many children he had. Now, he didn't seem like the most serious guy in the world, so his answer of "ten children" left us wondering whether or not we should believe him. We were soon assured of his sincerity and in amazement us kids moved off to unpack and get settled, leaving Mom talking with him and his wife. Mom shared that she and Dad had surrendered the area of childbearing to the Lord, and that she was somewhat surprised she had not had any more children after leaving it in the Lord's hands. At the end of their lengthy conversation, Mr. Gene and his wife prayed with Mom and Dad. Mr. Gene's prayer was not exactly what Mom had expected. She was surprised and a little worried when Mr. Gene prayed that God would actually give her and Dad another baby. This was not quite what she had had in mind. She did not yet truly want another child enough to actually pray for one.

Over the next few days, we were greatly blessed not only by the many lectures, but also by watching how the large families in attendance functioned and the ways that their members interacted. Each of these families left a lasting impression on all of us and were a living testimony of the goodness of God's blessings.

It wasn't until we arrived back home and "got back into the swing of things" that Mom earnestly prayed, "Lord, if You want to send us another child, I'm ready and willing."

I'm reminded of Mary, after the angel told her that she was to be the mother of the Savior. "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word (Luke 1:38)." Mom had the same attitude of surrender, selflessness, and self-sacrifice that Mary had, even in the face of potential difficulties and discomforts.

The Lord had prepared her heart to joyfully accept a very special gift.

One week later, Mom discovered that she was four or five weeks pregnant with a new addition to our family. God's timing is always perfect.

"Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate (Psalm 127:3-5)."

It's been a long process, but my parents have come to realize that children are from the Lord, and that they are a huge blessing. While our culture tells us that children are disruptive, a burden, an unwanted expense, unnecessary trouble, and extra impediments, the Bible tells us that God views children as a tremendous blessing, an asset, bearers of joy, and a wonderful heritage from Himself. [See Children: Blessing or Burden?]

I know that Mom and Dad view this new baby as a blessing. They also realize the huge task awaiting them: to raise this child up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord to be a godly young man or a virtuous young woman.
Hannah, after the Lord gave her Samuel, recognized that her child was given to her by God and she committed Samuel to the Lord. She praised God for the priceless gift He had seen fit to bestow upon her.

"For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him:

Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord.
And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.
There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God (1 Samuel 1:27-28; 2:1-2)."

Mom has completely amazed me throughout her pregnancy. Her attitude has been truly wonderful, and her energy has been impressive. She has continued to minister to the physical needs of her family as usual. In addition to their normal duties, how many 7-month-pregnant women have the desire to host a neighborhood Christmas party or have violin recitals for their 11-year-old daughters in their living rooms?

Proverbs 31:10, 26-27 says, "Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.

She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness."

Most women would probably not view themselves as still needing to "look well to the ways of their households" during pregnancy, and would consider themselves to be completely justified in "eating the bread of idleness." Mom, on the other hand, has kept right up with everything that has been going on. We are always asking her to slow down and to "remember her condition" - a phrase which she has good-humoredly all but banned us from using when speaking to her.

Proverbs goes on to say, "Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised (vs. 28-30)."

I just want to bless and praise my mom today for being a godly, virtuous woman.
I want to thank her for everything she's done and everything she's been to the four of us. She’s been our teacher, our cook, our housekeeper, our sympathizer, our comforter, our encourager, our mentor, our example, such a wonderful mother in so many ways.

Thanks for being there, Mom, always ready to guide and encourage us. May God bless you for being an unparalleled model of virtuous womanhood to Leslie, Shannon, and me. I love you.

Oh, and thank you for the new little brother or sister!

Clockwise from top left: Shannon, me, Leslie, Mom

I love you, Mom!

[End of post from Lauren's blog]

After Lauren's "speech," Shannon presented Mom with these lovely flowers.

Here are a few other pictures that we took.

Friday, January 19, 2007

An After-Christmas Boat Trip

A few days after Christmas, Dad took us out to an island that is only accessible by boat. We walked across the island to a place which is known, for obvious reasons, as "Boneyard Beach."

Eating lunch on a natural seesaw. What fun!

"Sisters, sisters; never were there such devoted sisters!"