October 31, 2010

All Work & No Play Makes Moms Question Fertility

Since the birth of our third child under three years old, I've been debating what our next course of action would be concerning our fertility. This issue is such a sensitive one in our post-modern day after the rise of feminism and the birth control pill (and other reliable methods). Even in the Church the issue of fertility is treated as a private matter between each husband and wife and each couple is convinced of their individual position (which is necessary - I'm not here to point fingers or take sides). There is a delicate balance of obedience to "Be fruitful and multiply," and personal responsibility with a clean conscience.

When Jeramy and I were considering each other for marriage, he brought this issue to my attention and made his views known. At that time I reviewed the Biblical texts that discuss this, looked at all of the examples given to us in Scripture and decided to trust God that He opens and closes the womb as He sees fit and we would therefore not prevent conception.

Now that I have my work cut out for me, so to speak, I'm strongly reconsidering my previous decision. I want to continue to trust God with our fertility because I believe what God's Word says -- that He is good and He does good, and that He is trustworthy. The difficulty lies with the work and the stress involved in the discipline of my children. I'm an only child and I never had to deal with constantly fighting with a sibling for anything. Everything was either mine or my parents. There was no one else to blame when handprints in red paint ended up on the white walls. But with Moriah and Lily, both toddlers, it's almost like having twins. As soon as I discipline one for misbehaving, the other goes right behind and commits the same offense! They are always coveting the each other's toys and I am constantly acting as a referee. It's exhausting and it often makes me angry. I'm not the parent I envisioned when I was a single person and that makes me sad.

But when we take the time to go out and do something fun, I have a lot of joy watching them have fun! I could have stayed with them in the Creation Museum for hours watching them marvel at the different sights to see. Tonight both Grandmas and I took them to a Reformation Party at church and they had a wonderful time. Anytime I've taken them to the park and they slide down the slide and swing and watch ducks, etc. it's great! Really! But when we're at home, all day, the work beckons me to get it done and it must get done. Laundry piles up. Floors get gross. Tables must be cleaned. Bathrooms must be sanitized. Babies must be nursed. Food must be cooked. Errands must get ran. And it's the same thing every week. Sometimes it feels like adding one more thing is almost an imposition on any time there would be just to relax. Time for reading, blogging, sewing and any other hobbies is reduced and must be stolen away from sleep. Oh, if there was more time to do fun things as a family, then maybe this issue of fertility wouldn't be such a hard one.

October 29, 2010

Calm After the Storm

Wednesday Shiphrah had her two month check-up appointment and we went to Bi-County Gwinnett Pediatrics. We had a pleasant experience: I came prepared with all the forms filled out in advance, submitted the new insurance card and co-payment. The reception desk was friendly and they also took the other forms I prepared for both Moriah and Lily at the same time. Within about 10 minutes or so we were moved to triage. Shiphrah weighed in at 11 pounds and 10 ounces. :-) The triage nurse was nice and enjoyed playing with her while doing her examination. When we moved into our formal examination room we were met with a medical student within a short time who asked basic questions and performed a simple exam. After another 10 minutes or so the doctor comes in and does her round of questions and exam. Everything went very pleasant until Shiphrah received her vaccinations. The expected crying commenced and she was comforted accordingly. Upon leaving we were able to check out with our next appointment set. We were in and out in 75 minutes. Yay!

Then the storm began. (Literally it started raining when we left.) Then Shiphrah began screaming, literally screaming, in pain for the next 12 hours. She did have some short bouts of unsettled comfort, maybe 30 to 45 minutes. But her appetite was abated and when she was hungry, she couldn't bear the pressure on her thighs to breastfeed! G'Wanda came over from work to help out. I could not have made it through the evening without her help! She did finally eat from her first bottle which she was VERY reluctant to take. Every time she kicked her leg, pressure was put against it, or she was in any position other than over the shoulder, she would scream bloody murder. It was really rough. I don't mean regular baby crying. Her face would get red, hot and sweaty, the scream was blood curdling and her entire body would tense up. Her entire left thigh was red. She did not run any fever but it was obvious that she was miserable. Tylenol didn't do anything to relieve her pain.

But, by the grace of God alone, at about 1:30 a.m. it stopped! It was like a miracle! Seriously, one minute she is screaming and then the very next minute she would coo at me, kick her legs and not be in pain! It was amazing! She nursed and was fine! Then she slept for 5 hours before her next feeding! Thank the Lord! I can't describe the gratitude Jeramy and I had when she was no longer in pain AND slept well.

I don't know if we'll submit to those vaccines again. If we can put them off until she's older, I think I would much prefer that instead.

October 20, 2010

Shiphrah Is Two Months

It's hard to believe that Shiphrah is two months already! She is following us around with her eyes. She has really come out with her vocalizations and coos very easily. Her voice is sweet and clear, like a bell. I love to hear her coo because she's not nagging, complaining, whining or asking me to get her anything. They're just happy baby noises. :-) She's already been stretching and strengthening her legs as she stands on my lap on her toes. One of the biggest ways her appearance has changed this month is with her eyelashes. After the first week her eyelashes were few and wet looking. They were always sort of stuck onto her eyelids. But a week ago I noticed how full and girly they have become. :-)

She doesn't sleep any better; she still wakes up usually twice a night to feed. But this is still a great improvement from when she came home from the hospital. She doesn't care for the car seat all that much either. She cries in the car unless we're moving. But she doesn't fight with her sisters (yet) over any toys or attention. Aren't babies great?!

Pix of Our Hosts

We were so thankful to be able to stay with some really good friends on our trip. We love these guys. Both of these fine men are bachelors and it was really fun to watch them enjoy playing with our children. They would make great fathers if they could just find the right women.

Here is Toby with Moriah and Lily. He always has a smile on his face.

Here is Channing with Shiphrah and again with Jeramy. The Chan Man is always a lot of fun to hang out with.

October 19, 2010

Lynn's Paradise Cafe

It's just a really fun place to eat.

Need a hand . . . chair?

The tea pot and cup fountain.

Many businesses around Louisville have decorated horses which, I think, signify that they support the Derby in some way. This horse is a toaster: the tail is an electric cord.

Funky glasses in the novelty store.

The dining area. See the trees with kites and animals in them. Notice how every table has a unique lamp.

The sweet potato fries are totally AWESOME!! I could have eaten two platefuls, but thankfully we had a budget. :-)

October 18, 2010

The Creation Museum

I loved going through the Museum again! I especially enjoyed watching the girls' reactions to the various exhibits. Moriah was scared half the time and begged to be held especially during the dark parts and where the dinosaurs moved and roared. The other half of the time she wanted to go back through it and really take it in. Lily did very well to hold Mommy's hand throughout. Lily especially loved watching the live animals move around. She was almost like a statue watching them. :-) Shiphrah slept through the whole thing in my Sleepy Wrap. (Yay!) She did awake when we got to the gift shop/bookstore at the end, just to tell me to buy something. :-) I'm so glad that we have lifetime passes that we can take them back as often as we want to make the drive. :-) I know they'll appreciate it more when they're older.

Jelly Face & Bed Head

October 16, 2010

The Winner Is . . .

Thanks to everyone who participated!
I would like to have more giveaways in the future, Lord willing.
And thanks to Random.org for randomly choosing the winner. Here was my list:

1. Dianna
2. Leah
3. Leah - blog mention
4. Erin
5. Victoria
6. Lydia
7. Abby
8. Sherri
9. Sherri - blog mention

True Random Number Generator 8Powered by RANDOM.ORG

October 11, 2010

Road Trip! Destination: Louisville

I'm so excited! I've been busily cleaning, laundering and packing away today for our family trip to Louisville, KY. We leave tomorrow around 9 a.m. and arrive at our good brother-friend Toby's house around 5 or 6 p.m. We're excited to catch up with him.

Wednesday we hope to take the girls to the Creation Museum! I can't wait to see their faces and reactions, especially to the dinosaurs and all the educational videos. I'm excited to see it again, myself. Jeramy has 4 guest passes for life, so we get in free!

Thursday I really want to go to the chapel service at Southern Seminary! I miss the worship there! Everyone sings and listens with their full heart and mind there -- it's awesome! I should have relished it more while I was there. Then later Thursday evening is the devotional signing where I get to meet the other authors and sign a few books! What a unique opportunity! Then we will quickly leave and head down to Whitwell, TN just outside of Chattanooga and stay with our good, good brother, Channing (aka "The Chan-Man"). Then Friday we'll return back to Lawrenceville.

Ahh, I'm so excited! At some point while we visit we have plans to hook up with my old violin teacher and I also hope to try out some different (more expensive) violins that I might purchase. I feel like a kid in a candy store! I also want to eat at Lynn's Paradise Cafe and get sorbet at Graeter's. I have never seen a more unique restaurant like the Paradise Cafe. It's almost like a trendy, cool, creative designer twist on Cracker Barrel. (Wait until you see some pictures.) And Graeter's is a French Pot ice cream shop and it's oooooohhhhhh so good! Better than anything anywhere, except Carl's in Fredericksburg, VA.

October 8, 2010

"You Wanna Learn Something?"

Or, Another Reason to Love the Dollar Store!

Jeramy was looking for some education materials to continue teaching Moriah about time, geography and the U.S. Presidents. She also needed to learn about the days of the week and months of the year. Off they go to Walmart to find large maps and other things only to be disappointed. Then he decided to check out The Dollar Tree and what a treasure trove awaited them! He found all kinds of learning posters: a world map, a North American-U.S. map, a counting poster, an empty calendar with "Today Is ___." "Yesterday was ___." and "Tomorrow will be ___." that includes the days of the week and months, and two different posters that explain how to read a clock face. He taped all of these wonderful things in the front hallway.

He also found at the dollar store books that teach about world continents and countries, the United States and the U. S. Presidents even down to Obama. These books have colorful pictures and flip openings to make it fun for the girls. Yay, let's learn something! Whoever said that homeschool starts when your 5 or 6?! Start teaching them when they're ready to learn, whatever age that is, right?!

The only downside is that the book that explores the world continents and countries does state a great age for the earth as fact. "60,000 years ago . . . " But we have plenty of Answers in Genesis materials and faithful parents to set her straight. We did get it for only $1.00. (You get what you pay for. :-/ )

October 4, 2010

A Giveaway!

Sometimes, I get frustrated listening to Christian radio. Does that ever happen to you? You hear, what seems like, the same songs over and over and you have to deconstruct the text in order to be somewhat edified by it or worship through it. Then after about 30 minutes you get mentally and spiritually tired of working so hard that you just shut it off and go with silence.

The contemporary Christian music (CCM) on the radio is entertaining, but not really edifying. We get into the beat and bump along. We like the soaring strings and the wailing guitars. We like to make our voices sound like the artist and even use our hairbrushes or cell phones for microphones. :-) But are such songs appropriate for corporate worship? A song is only as good as the theology it reveals in its lyrics. The power behind the song is in the words, not the rhythm, not the melody, not the harmony, not the "strings that make you cry," and not the voice of the artist.

As believers we are commanded to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. How many congregations sing the Psalms? Are there psalters available in our pews? Are our song sets filled with rich texts on which we can meditate on the vastness of God?

Great songs and hymns are Biblical. They use Biblical language, are not sensual, nor are they vague. An example of sensual language would be, "I'm so in love with you." Yes, there are times when our affection for God just soars and we cannot adequately put into words what we are trying to express -- but let's just try and find something specific for God, not something we say to our boyfriend, fiance or spouse.

Biblical language and phrases call the Scriptures to remembrance and cause us to go searching for them and their context. For instance,

Speak, O Lord as we come to You
To receive the food of Your holy Word. (Matt 4:4)
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us. (Jer 31:33)
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness (Rom 12:2, 2 Cor 3:18)
That the light of Christ might be seen today (2 Cor 4:4)
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith. (1 Thess 1:3)
Words of power that can never fail. (Josh 23:14, Is 55:11)
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Great hymns and songs also communicate and teach Truth, help our memory, encourage, edify, and focus on God and His attributes.

Do you choose to listen to great hymns and songs?

Well, here's your chance! In honor of this, my 500th post, I'm hosting a giveaway! I'm excited to give away some of these great hymns older and more modern in two CD's. The first is the album, In Christ Alone, by Keith and Kristyn Getty. These are modern hymns and most of them we sing in our church. This CD is like the best hits of the Getty/Townend combo. The second CD is from Sovereign Grace Ministries headed by Bob Kauflin. The Upward album features several older hymns rich in encouragement and edification with a modern, up-to-date sound! The Songs for the Cross Centered Life album is awesome too! You can choose between the Upward album or the Songs for the Cross Centered Life album if you win. Anyone, anywhere can enter except my Mom or Jeramy -- even you closet readers.

To enter my giveaway you can:

  1. Post a comment and tell me which Sovereign Grace album you want if you win.
  2. Post about this giveaway on your blog and give me the link in a comment.
  3. Write about a great hymn or song with the Scripture references and how it impacts you (either in a blog post or in a comment on this post) -- no limits. :-) You get one entry per song or hymn you submit.

This giveaway contest is open through Friday 15 October. Then I will randomly select a winner. Not luck but God's providence to you.

Yay! Spread the good Christian music!!

Future Blackmail?

Or just a testament to the love between sisters? I hope it grows, but not in this physical sense!

They see Jeramy and I kiss all the time - so it must come naturally to them, huh?