Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas from our family to yours..

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

6 months old!

Monday, December 07, 2009

~ December 2009~

Happy December

Wow. Is December here already?

Many apologies for my looong absence. Life is busy. Having five (FIVE!) kids is incredibly time consuming (in a happy crazy wonderful way!)

I (officially) started midwifery school. An awesome program
Ancient Art Midwifery Institute. The next couple of years will probably be a whirlwind. I am doing my best to keep my priorities straight. God. Family (and friends!). Midwifery. Everything else. I attended a BEAUTIFUL birth on Thanksgiving. What a wonderful memory that will always be!

My digital camera is (to put it nicely).... struggling. Hence, the lack of baby Jesse photo's. He is growing and changing everyday. He is sitting up and has two teeth! I need to remedy that camera situation asap. We are heading out this morning to have some pictures done, so I promise pictures will be up soon.

The boys are all doing great. Busy schedules: martial arts, music lessons, etc. They are testing for their purple belts next week. Jackson enjoys the piano, but wants to start guitar lessons as well, not sure I can afford those right now..

Savannah is growing into such a little mommy. She mothers the baby. She mothers her brothers, they don't appreciate that one so much. ;) She even puts her hand on her hip while giving them instructions! LOL. Oh! I have been reading lots and lots of hair
braiding/fancy hair-do blogs so that I can keep control of her waist long blond hair!

I'm rambling. Have a good day! Please comment and let me know what YOU have been up to!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ignite the Fire Within
Taekwondo Tournament

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Jesse James is 3 months old!

Not great pictures, but they are pictures. :)

Saturday, September 05, 2009

More Vacation 2009

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Vacation 2009
Colorado and Wyoming

Jackson, my sister Kelli, Austin, me (with Jesse in a sling) and Savannah, my brother Keith and Adrian

My kiddo's eating with cousins Derek, Ryan and Alyssa.
more pictures to come...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Jessie, the kids and I are headed west!
Bye ya'll! See you in two weeks!

Monday, August 03, 2009

2 months old!

Jesse James is 2 months old (tomorrow)!

I am so happy to report he took a nap in his crib for the first time today. :) We have been holding him (or in the Mei Tai) since birth. He has a bad case of reflux, and does better upright in keeping his meal down. But, he has been doing better lately so I decided it was time to transition him to his crib (safely away from his very helpful, loving 3 year old sister). He is (of course) still sleeping next to me at night.

The transition was much easier than I had anticipated. I waited until he was full, and very, very sleepy, swaddled him, and put him in his crib and snuck away. He was fine for a few minutes, fussed for a few minutes, and then slept peacefully for almost an hour. I must confess I went in once to give him his pacifier. He loves his binky. :)

Perhaps now I can get some things done that I have weeding the garden. That's challenging to do with a baby in a sling! :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This past weekend we took the kids to the beach. There were few people on the beach and the weather was perfect.
This summer has been filled with picnics, barbeque's, fishing and more. We are really looking forward to ending our summer with a two week vacation out west (Colorado and Wyoming).
Unfortunately, when we return summer will be over, and we will have to start school.. that reminds me.. I need to order homeschool books.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Every good gift
and every perfect gift
is from above...
James 1:17

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


When my midwife did the Ballard Score on Jesse, she determined he is 4-5 weeks early. By gestational dating he was born at 37.2 weeks, but if you consider my pregnancies usually last 41+ weeks, she is probably very accurate.

4 weeks makes so much of a difference. He is so little, and frail, and skinny, and dependant. He shudders when unwrapped. His cry is so sweetand quiet. He is my first baby to ever wear "newborn" diapers, the others all started out in size 1. And all of my other babies were born with rolls of baby fat.

His birth weight was 7lb.14oz but had he would went "full term" he likely would have been almost 10lbs.

Savannah (now 3) never was a newborn, in that she came out eyes wide open as if she knew what was going on. She never acted newborn. She was alert and sassy from day one. :)

So I am enjoying this new little one, new in so many ways, teaching me everyday. It's like being a first time mother all over again..

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Boys...

Adrian, Austin, and Jackson all earned their yellow belts this week! Great job boys!!!!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Jesse James

Born June 9, 2009
7 lbs. 14 oz. 19 inches

Born at home in a peaceful water birth.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday!!!!

Happy Birthday Grandma Jo!!!!
We love you!!!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Heart of a Joyful Mom
Article by Jennifer (Steele) Carroll, May 2009

She truly carries the joy of the Lord with her at all times, but when we were young, and because it was always lived out before us as a normal way of life, we never saw it as out of the ordinary. After all, wasn’t this the way it was supposed to be?

The first time I heard it was at college. I am sure we were supposed to be studying, but Rachel, my good friend, and I were casually talking, surrounded by dozens of books, papers, assignments, pieces of sheet music, leftover coffee cup sleeves, one laptop, and a keyboard.

“We were having a family discussion one night around the dinner table,” she was saying, “and someone brought up the question, ‘Who is the happiest person you know?’ The vote was unanimous. Everyone decided it was Cathy Steele.”

The thought surprised me. Not because my mom isn’t a happy person; she is. The thought surprised me because my mom never strived to be the ‘happiest person’, nor would she put on a plastic smile “just because”. She truly carries the joy of the Lord with her at all times, but when we were young, and because it was always lived out before us as a normal way of life, we never saw it as out of the ordinary. After all, wasn’t this the way it was supposed to be? Mom cheered for us. Mom looked at a difficult situation and saw the good in it. Mom laughed. Mom praised our efforts. Mom smiled. Mom was our friend. In our small minds, through all those growing-up years, the idea was quietly, firmly established in our thinking and reinforced countless times that joy was a way of life because of what Jesus Christ had done for us, and that relationships would blossom and flourish when plentifully watered with it.

When people would ask my mom, “Why are you so happy all the time?” she would often reply, “I am just so grateful to be saved! Think of what Christ has done for us!”

My mom didn’t have anything like Created To Be His Help Meet when she got married. It wasn’t printed until decades later. She, from a radically different background, stepped into her role of being a wife and mother by revering and following the Word of God. Through the years, she formulated habits that served as crucial fibers for the fabric of our family. These are just a few of them.

She spoke of Dad respectfully, and joyfully served him. She made a habit of telling us things like, “Daddy just got a raise!” or “Ask Daddy, he knows how” or “No, Daddy told you not to, and Mommy always supports what Daddy says”. She spoke well of him to us and to our friends. She chose to cook meals that she knew he liked. She let him have “down time” when he came home from work, not badgering him with honey-do lists or complaints about how hard her day was. She smiled for him.

When she had to sacrifice herself, her preferences, or her time, she chose joyful selflessness. In our family of eight, there were often things that conflicted with scheduled plans. She was always the first one to offer to stay home with one of us sick kids, drive someone to a football game instead of going to that special dinner with her friends, or take one of us shopping who desperately wanted to go, even when shopping was not her favorite thing to do. One year in particular, she saved all her money from a home business and surprised Dad and the rest of us by spending it on a family vacation to Florida. We were too young to think anything like, “There are so many things she could have bought for herself with that money, but she chose us.” All we knew was that we were excited and happy, because Mom was.

When circumstances were stressful, or money was tight, she responded with joyful creativity and thankfulness for what we did have. I never heard her compare what she had to what someone else had. I never heard her sigh, “If only...” She is an incredibly hard worker, and loves to exercise her gift of resourcefulness. I remember her coming into the house all excited one day because, “The people down the road are building their house, and said we could have their leftover bricks! We can make a sidewalk with those!” You would have thought they were bricks of gold. She was so happy and so thankful about everything; it really got to be contagious, even if none of us had any previous knowledge about laying brick sidewalks. She always praised Dad for being such a good provider for us, and respected the work he did.

When she was hurt, she chose joyful forgiveness. I remember, as a little girl, perceiving when ‘Mommy’ was down or hurt over something. But it never lasted for long! Before you knew it, she was talking as cheerfully as ever, or suggesting something fun to do. We never had to wonder, “What kind of a day is Mommy going to have?” It wasn’t even a question in our minds. We felt peaceful and stable, because Mom was.She did not spend her time entertaining herself, but joyfully invested in our lives.

If you want to know where you will find my Mom, it will be with Dad or one of us. She has constantly poured out her time, energy, love, skills, knowledge, patience, and prayers on our behalf, even when circumstances were extreme. On one occasion, the college house I was living in had a cat take up residence underneath the house and infest the place with fleas. We did what we could, but they kept coming back. We were all exhausted with our recitals, tests, and deadlines coming up, and were at a loss for what to do. Mom found out about it, told us she was coming, and drove over two hours to get there. She treated the carpets and bedspreads, washed all of our laundry, swept and vacuumed everywhere, opened windows to air out the place, put everything back in order, took us to lunch, and drove back home, all in the same day. The fleas didn’t stand a chance!

She freely blessed us to expand our horizons and joyfully let us go, even when it meant more work for her. Through the years, several opportunities came up for me to travel and encourage other girls. The trips lasted anywhere from one week to two months. I am her oldest daughter and felt the responsibility to help around the house. But when the time came for another ministry opportunity, I never once received a guilt-trip discussion about all the work she would have to cover while I was gone, not to mention the continuation of homeschooling for the younger kids. She blessed me and encouraged me to go. She blessed my older brother, Joshua, leaving at the age of only sixteen to go on a mission trip to Hong Kong for two months. Other mothers questioned her “looseness” with the apron strings. But it was unspoken knowledge among all of us siblings that her blessing on our service to the Lord, regardless of where that happened to be, only made us want to serve and bless her more. We knew she was not selfishly possessive of us, and we loved her for it.

She gave us a legacy of joy that is now spilling over into our own marriages. Recently, my sister and I entered the biggest adventure of our lives. We became help meets. We now step in stride with our husbands, laughing, playing, working, learning, observing, growing, and rejoicing with them. God has blessed us tremendously through Mom’s example. We are joyfully fulfilled in our marriages, just like our mom, knowing that it is a privilege to respect and serve our husbands. Now that I am married, I fully realize what a heavenly gift she gave us.

She sent us out with joy.

“For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace...” Isa. 55:12.

“...her children rise up and call her blessed...” Prov. 31:30.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My vegetable garden is in!

I planted: tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, green peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, swiss chard, kale, eggplant, cucumbers, acorn squash, butternut squash, watermelon, musk melon, buttercrunch lettuce, spinach, bush beans, onions, zucchini, and sugar snap peas.

Herb garden: lemon balm, echinacea (cone flowers), rosemary, thyme, cilantro, basil, chives and garlic chives, oregano, spearmint, peppermint. (below)

I started a shade garden: 8 varieties of hostas, coleus, ostrich ferns, lambs ear, purple lamium, and snow on the mountain so far..

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Master Cleanse

Everybody needs to "change their oil" once in awhile. We are systematic about doing it for our vehicles, but what about our bodies?? What about all the gunk that is collected there?

Enter the Master Cleanse.

The Master Cleanse, also known as the Lemonade Diet, or the Maple Syrup Diet is a program created by Stanley Burroughs Burroughs states that it is a detoxification program that aids in the removal of harmful toxins from within the body, as well as a reducing diet for loss of weight, and a cure for ulcers and "every kind of disease," resulting in "the correction of all disorders."The Master Cleanse is a way to rid the body of toxins and remove the cravings associated with drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and eating junk food. "Coffee, tea, and various cola drinks, as habit-forming beverages, also lose their appeal through the marvels of the lemonade diet." The cleanse involves drinking only lemonade made from fresh lemon or lime juice, maple syrup, water and Cayenne pepper. No solid food is eaten for the entire cleanse.

My husband is on day 6 of the Master Cleanse. Day 1 and 2 he felt pretty rough, we are guessing from lack of caffeine (coffee). But he has never once been hungry. We have done other fasts, and thought (*grins*) we were starving to death. So far he has lost several pounds, his dandruff is completely gone, he is starting to taste and smell again, and his shoulder pain (from what we suspect is a partially torn rotator cuff) is almost gone. We are hoping this fixes his sinus issues. He looks and feels GREAT! He plans to continue for 10-14 days..

I really recommend reading the book before starting the cleanse so that you understand the dynamics of the cleansing and healing process.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Living Simply

I am constantly looking for creative ideas on how to live well (and simply) on one income. I am blessed to be able to stay home, raising and home schooling my children.

Titus 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

My husband and I decided together what we really "need". "Needs" and "wants" are different. Do we really need 2 cars, a huge house, and brand name clothes? Learn to be content with what you have!

1Timothy 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

We decided a long time ago that we would never let debt or money ruin our marriage, and sought to find a biblical approach to our marriage and finances.

Proverbs 14:1 Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

In an effort to get completely out of debt, we got rid of our big house (and mortgage payment) and moved into a modest 3 bedroom home in the country. We are within months of paying off our truck. We have vowed to pay cash for everything, and will never again finance a vehicle or anything else. Our 4, soon to be 5 children share 2 bedrooms. They wouldn't have it any other way. :)

I have found many, many ways to stretch each and every paycheck:
To be able to afford our almost entirely organic diet, I buy bulk. I buy very little prepackaged, or convenience foods. Boxed cereal is even a treat. I buy bulk staple items such as cane sugar, beans, rice, honey, oatmeal, and wheat for grinding and making into bread. I buy fresh seasonal fruit locally and freeze or can it for year round use. We plant a large garden, and freeze and can our own vegetables. I buy fresh raw cow milk and make my own yogurt and kefir, as well as butter and cheese. When the neighbor has an over abundance of goat milk, I make goat-cheese (think feta). Sooo good! My husband and boys hunt, so we always have a freezer full of venison and poultry for them to eat.

We save tons of money on medical and dental bills by eating whole foods diet! Prevention really is the best medicine!!!

Proverbs 31:27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

In order to be able to live well on one-income we did have to eliminate some unnecessary costs and activities. My kids enroll in one activity at a time, right now all 3 boys are taking taekwondo, which they chose over baseball and soccer. We also splurge for piano and violin lessons, which we feel is a necessary expenditure. This arrangement works well for us because it allows me to take care of things at home (laundry, healthy meals) and not be driving all over the place, all the time.

I hang my clothes out on a clothes line (this sure cuts down on the electric bill) I love being able to get fresh air and sunshine, and it helps my disposition to step away from the children for a few quiet moments. ;) I will also be using cloth diapers with this baby. I was given a bunch of gently used, very expensive cloth diapers from a friend, I was pretty excited!!! I also use cloth menstrual pads, and homemade cloth nursing pads. I am planning on making cloth napkins very soon.

Lend, borrow and buy used!! There really is no shame in second hand, shopping Craigslist and yard sales. Just don't buy stuff you don't need!!

Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pictures from Sunday

Friday, March 20, 2009


I'm making butter over on my other site... check it out!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pregnancy and Home birth

I have been wanting to share my thoughts and feelings about pregnancy and home birth, and midwives..and everything. I will share the not-so-private aspects..

Let me start by saying, I love being pregnant. I love home birth. But, I do not love giving birth. You would think after doing it four times I wouldn't think it was such a big deal. But I haven't had four beautiful, peaceful home births. I've had 2 rather traumatic hospital births, followed by one PERFECT HOME BIRTH, followed by a 48 hour attempt at home birth then being transferred to the hospital.

I am rather opinionated about this subject. So, if you are quick to be offended, please click away now. :) This is just MY opinion/experience.

I do feel that each woman has the RIGHT to give birth where she feels safe, and with a qualified care provider she is comfortable with. Just because my safe place is at home with a midwife, doesn't mean that's what is right for every woman. We all have different experiences, education, likes and dislikes. I do believe every woman should be treated with respect and dignity. I makes my skin crawl to hear about impatient, rude doctors..or midwives for that matter. I feel that if you are not being treated properly, FIRE THEM! You are paying them! I have fired many a doctor.

I choose birthing with a midwife because it's safe. Plenty of documentation and studies to prove it. My midwife knows my name, she knows my husbands and children's names. She knows my birth history. She spends as much time with me at each appointment as I need her to (the average prenatal appointment with a midwife is over an hour). She has educated me as a pregnant mother about my body, pregnancy and childbirth. She has encouraged me to take responsibility for this child long before he/she is born by education, proper diet, herbal supplements, and a healthy lifestyle.

Pregnancy is not a sickness nor disease, that needs to be "managed". And childbirth is not a medical event, or surgical procedure. Our bodies were meant to give birth! I think if all women were educated properly, the induction rate (nearly 81%) and the c-section rate (as high as 33%) would be reduced significantly. Doctors specialize in high-risk medicalized, surgical childbirth, and midwives in NATURAL birth.

If women would just take the time to educate themselves, about all of the risks associated with "routine procedures" that happen at the hospital. Do you know there is a risk to you and your baby by using Pitocin to be induced? Cytotec? Internal (vaginal) exams during labor? risk of infection, and completely unnecessary, listen to mama's cues... and you will know when it's time! Having your waters ruptured (called amniotomy)? Epidural anesthesia? Routine ultrasound? Do you know that giving birth on your back, with your legs up in stirrups is the least productive (and least comfortable) way to give birth?!? Being to told when and how to push? You will know, you don't need to be told!

Do you know that there is another way, all you have to do is ask!!!! Even at the hospital...

Do you know that all of those "routine" things they do to your newborn are for their convenience. Suctioning? usually not necessary. Cutting/clamping the cord immediately? not good for baby, best to wait until it stops pulsating at the base near the placenta. Taking the baby to a warmer? Mama is the best warmer, read the benefits of skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth, promotes bonding and regulates baby's temperature. Antibiotic eye drops? Do you know they assume you have an STD and that's the ONLY reason for the eye drops. Do you know babies have been blinded by these eye drops? Do YOU have an STD? No? than why give the drops??? Newborn Hep B vaccine? Is your infant at risk for getting a sexually transmitted Hep B at birth? Would it hurt to wait until your newborns immune system has a chance to develop before injecting them with a disease? Vitamin K shot? Do you know WHY this is given, have you looked into whether it is necessary for YOUR baby? This is your child, don't you owe it to her to research these things?

Most hombirth midwives do not practice "routine intervention".

Midwives in a home birth setting are trained to recognize problems long before they are an emergency, leaving plenty of time to transport the laboring mama to the hospital. Midwives also monitor your baby's heart rate throughout labor (using Doppler), and carry oxygen for respiratory issues. Midwives can start IV's if necessary.. can administer herbs or Pitocin to stop bleeding, etc..

This time around I am doing many things differently. My diet is different. I am not much of a meat-eater, and this time I am following a mostly vegetarian diet.. and I feel better!:) I am trying to avoid another 10 lb 14 oz. baby (that likely resulted from excess calories, little exercise, and too much ice cream). That pregnancy I gained way too much weight, and it took some time to get back to a healthy weight. I am happy to report that at my 6 month prenatal, I have only gained 16 lbs.. that's awesome for me, comparatively speaking.

This time around I am concentrating on getting my greens (lots of spinach and kale in my green smoothies), lots of fruits and veggies, and lots of good quality protein foods..beans, legumes, eggs, nut butters, avocado's and brown rice, and whole grain breads. I have been avoiding white breads, cereals, sweets, and dairy products, (except for cheese, which I cannot live without :)

I am also taking herbal supplements. Lots of red raspberry leaf tea, and capsules " tone to the muscles of the pelvis and uterus. The benefits of this toning action include: prevention of miscarriage and false labor, reduction of pain during and after birth, production of more effective contractions during labor and therefore a faster birth, and prevention of postpartum hemorrhage or bleeding. Red Raspberry is also an rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and E, as well as the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. These nutrients make it an excellent prevention and treatment for anemia and leg cramps, as well as a beneficial remedy for the reduction of morning sickness. The high mineral content also assists in the production of breast milk"

as well as taking liquid chlorophyll, or Floradix, and Alfalfa tablets. And drinking lots and lots of water (usually with green tea drops in it)
I am also drinking kefir, YUM!

I have also been doing some yoga, something I never thought I would enjoy, and now absolutely LOVE! I also get regular chiropractic care, and am scheduling some 3rd trimester massages.

I haven't written a birth plan yet. This time around I plan to invite less people. I can picture this birth, a hot summer day, home with just my hubby until things get serious. I'm thinking the less people and distractions the better. I plan to walk around outside, and use our swimming pool in early labor. And eventually move inside and give birth in my jacuzzi tub. I could go on and on about water birth!

I'll let you know how it goes... ;)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

March Madness

March has been the craziest/busiest month this year..

*5 members of Jeremy's family were killed last week, the funerals are this weekend. I was advised not to travel because of the risk of premature labor.. Both of my midwives say that the physical stress of riding in the car for 18 hours, and the emotional stress of the funerals, could cause premature labor. I have mixed emotions about not being able to attend.

*I am trying to keep up with the boys school lessons despite all of the chaos. I want to have the majority of their book work done so that when the weather turns nice, we can play outside! :) I am still on track to be done with school by May 1. I love home schooling!!

*The torrential rains this past week have flooded our gravel road, and filled our driveway with knee-deep water. Jeremy came home from a conference late Tuesday night to find the driveway completely hidden, so he had to park on the road, and wade through the freezing water to get home.

*A union meeting early this week confirmed what I have been dreading. Jeremy's union plans to strike June 27 (my due date is June 28) if contract negotiations do not improve. I guess I should consider this a blessing.. He won't have to take vacation time for the birth..
Jeremy works for the largest communications company in the world.
"AT&T took in $119 Billion in revenues last year. Cash from operating activities was $34 Billion, a new company record. Double digit earnings per share, which is 4 times the Standard and Poor average.
In fact, they were so profitable they were able to pay seven employees over $150 million in wages. To put that number in perspective, the amount of money AT&T gave to just seven of it's employees could pay for the health care for all 11,000 IBEW Local 21 members."

But AT&T continues their propaganda campaign to try to convince us that we should be prepared to accept "significant givebacks" in this years bargaining.. including not providing it's employees with health care any longer.

* On a happy note, both of my midwives (both my home birth, and my CNM-hospital midwife) agree that I should be able to have a home birth if things continue the way they are now. My condition (massive subchorionic hematoma) does put me at risk for premature labor..but if I can make it to 37 weeks, I should be able to safely home birth. Hooray!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Five members of our family were killed yesterday in a
Jeremy's Aunt Julie, Uncle Terry, cousin Troy, his wife Kristy, and their two young children Cameron and Kerabeth were traveling to NM from TX for a weekend ski trip. A vehicle traveling opposite direction lost control, swerving into the path of their mini-van. All 6 people in the van were ejected despite wearing seat belts. Jeremy's Uncle Terry was the only survivor, and is in critical condition.

In loving memory of Aunt Julie, Troy, Kristy, Cameron, and Karabeth.

Aunt Julie (above center)

Cameron, 10 (driving the 4 wheeler)

Kristy (above center), Aunt Julie (above right)

Troy, a Huntsville TX paramedic.
Kerabeth, age 7

Please pray for our family.