Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Thank You

Thank you so much to each one of you who prayed for our little baby after the hemorrhage at 11.5 weeks. Its been an eventful 10 weeks, adventures in faith and waiting, with a midnight ER trip, my first full-fledged panic attack, and various scares and joys, as the hematoma grew and shrank and grew. Many times we thought we'd lost her, but every time we went in for an ultrasound, her little heart was pumping still.

We just heard back a couple days ago, that the hematoma is gone. At 21.5 weeks, Baby continues to grow, and suck her thumb (she's been doing that on every ultrasound), and I can now feel her little kicks.

Thank you to all of you who prayed. Thank you for all the words, all the love & concern, all the help, all the hugs. Your prayers mean more than I can say.

Thank you to the God who continues to sustain her life in my womb, giving us already twice the time we thought we had with her.

Thank you everyone. I love you you all!

Thankyou God. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Of Jenny's Decision & Rodian Language, also a Prayer Request

This is the blog post I had finished writing last night, ready to post when I went to internet today. A lot of things happened today, and I have a prayer request I'll share at the end.

Hello everyone!
 Mariam makes her mad dash for freedom. Everyone does their part to keep her in the picture....

Not quite at the Big Canvas Print for the Living Room Wall level yet...

Mariam continues to be such a constant source of cheerful joy. She beams while she eats her food. She beams as she runs up to give out hugs. She beams while she tears library books, and climbs up on the table in 20 seconds, to throw people's breakfasts down onto the floor.....

She still does her little signature random clapping and  and bursting into laughter to liven things up whenever its too quiet.

She's so sweet that our budding theologian thinks she is sinless. Jenny explained to me "Mariam hasn't sinned yet, she doesn't know any better [to hit her sister, etc]".
Mommy, on watching Mariam wallop Keziah over the head with a Captain America action figure, disagrees.

Jenny has had a lot of interest in sin lately, and on choosing not to sin.

Rebekah visited last month, and at some point in the visit, we of course got into an argument. (full disclosure, I can't even remember what it was about, and yes, I was probably being a punk) Jenny came up to Bekah afterwards to question her about it.
"Why were you fighting?"
"Your Mommy was being a punk"
"No, Aunt Bekah, you were being a punk" (solemn pause) "Why did you fight?"
"Look Jenny--your mommy is my sister. And don't you fight with your sisters? Sometimes you fight with Keziah and baby Mariam."
"Yes, I did. (Pause) But Aunt Bekah, I decided, I am not going to make mistakes or sin or fight any more. You have to decide, Aunt Bekah."
"That's nice Jenny."
(Long pause -- Jenny keeps staring solemnly at Rebekah)
"Aunt Bekah, you have to decide."
(Rebekah playing dumb, covering her eyes with her hand to avoid Jenny's gaze.) "Decide what?"
(Jenny is undeterred. Bright solemn eyes staring intently at Rebekah.) "Aunt Bekah, you have to decide to not make mistakes or sin or fight any more. You have to decide, Aunt Bekah.”
At which point, Aunt Bekah starts laughing under the pressure, and hand-in-hand with Jenny, returns to apologize.

She told me about how Jesus had died for us "when we were sinful, and now we are not sinful anymore"
"Well, Jenny, Mommy still sins sometimes"
Jenny was aghast. "No! You need to decide!"
Later, I tried to drop the bombshell gently, that she still sins.
She responded with conviction, "But I decided not to!!! I decided not to be sinful anymore!"
After certain events transpired, in which even Jenny recognized she had sinned, she told me brokenly "But I did not want to be sinful anymore. I wuhpented"
Hopefully it doesn't crush Jenny too much to acknowledge she isn't going to be perfect this side of heaven....

On the subject of heaven, I explained we can't take anything to heaven with us. Jenny protested “But I was going to bring my heart to heaven, because thats where Jesus is.” She thought about it some more. “I was going to bring the food in my bewwy to heaven, because its alweady inside of me”

The kids like carrying their food with them everywhere, alas, which the state of the carpet reflects.

Mariam continues to be fascinated with water. Whenever I am trying to swirl a cloth diaper in the toilet, she eagerly comes up behind me, trying to join in on the fun. Mommy cruelly removes her, and goes back to frolicking in the toilet water with the fruits of her labors. Mariam does not understand why it has to be this way. But mommy says it must me, and trusts that one day, Mariam may too have the joy of swirling diapers in the toilet.

Ever since Mariam started walking, and ever since I strapped a pair of shoes on her feet, she sees herself as a big kid. The other kids got icecream cones at MacDonalds? Mariam vocalized the injustice, till I absently handed her mine, expecting her to take a few bites. She was so pleased. I turned my back on the stroller for what felt like a few moments, dealing with the others. When I looked back at her, she had eaten the entire thing.

Josh brushes each of the kids' teeth at night, and with the priveleges of icecream and shoes now bestowed into her, mariam confidently toddled up, climbed the footstool, and looked expectantly at Josh.

She has her own little toothbrush now, and Josh faithfully brushes all 6 of her teeth, right along with all the big kids. At night, Josh gives the kids all a drink of water after prayertime. I was feeding her a bottle, when she pushed it out of her mouth, slipped off the bed, and toddled over,pushing past older siblings to the cup to get a drink. The sweetest thing is how pleased she is with herself after these things, and her little toothy grin she bestows on the world afterwards.

Heady with these successes, she tried to wriggle out of my arms and as we were coming down the concrete stairs to our apartment, and walk down the stairs like a big kid. I held on. It was clear she was a little insulted as I set her down and the bottom of the stairs. She turned and climbed a few of the stairs, just to show me she knew how....

Keziah's vocabulary continues to expand and correct itself (I wistfully heard her switch to "Isaiah" from her little quirky "Izezzy"), and she has also been playing (and rough playing) with Mariam a lot more. When I'm driving, I hear them laughing together, and at red lights when I look back there, Mariam and Keziah are talking and laughing together. With Mariam's walking, Keziah seems to have embraced her as peer.

Keziah will chime in a word or two as the big kids recite Psalm 23 for candy, which will earn her an equal portion, which she receives with her little trademarked crinkle-nose smile of joy.

She loves Hannah E. Harrison's "Bernice gets carried away" and loudly demands "Duh BERNICE BOOK!!" It's also one of the sweetest children's books I've ever read, it's still good on the 49th reading, and that's saying something. I think there's something about a introverted grumpy little cat that resonates with Kuzzles soul. She's our resident little introvert, craving order and quiet in her world.

When asked, she stocked up the entire shoe shelf, even putting similar (missing matching) shoes next to each other. “NO BABY NO!” she hollered later, defending her work from the inevitable slide towards entropy, that is Mariam Sadar.

Here she lined up a family of ducks, and was quite pleased. In the background, you can see some of her work on the shoe shelf.

She is very insistent that she is NOT a baby, when I absent-mindedly call her that as a term of affection. “No, I em a toddwer”, and another time “I em not coot. I em pwitty”

Isaiah continues to request “Star Wars, duh one wiv Luke in it” for his weekly allotment of one movie on Saturday afternoon.

After spending about 2 years of hoarding the red megablocks from his sisters, to build “big red iron man” he has now moved onto a different art form, which he has now been making daily for over a month. To Jenny's dismay, it uses up even more of the red blocks, as it is a star destroyer.

The blue ship on the right, I thought was just random blocks, until Josh pointed out Tantive IV, Leia's Corellian Corvette ship that gets boarded by Darth Vader in the first few minutes of Ep. IV: A New Hope. I was impressed, as despite having seen Star Wars since I was 9, still don't know the shapes of any of the ships other than a Star Destroyer and the X-wing.

Even given the one-week-between viewings, he has entire conversations from Episode IV memorized. Every day, he wants Josh (or me) to be Han in the cantina, when Greedo confronts him and consequently gets shot. He will usually show up, gallantly supply you with a blaster built from megablocks, then stick you up with his own megablock blaster, and greet you with a string of Rodian gibberish. The proper response is “Yes, I was just going to see your boss. Tell Jabba I've got the money”, to which he'll respond with even more Rodian gibberish, and if you can't remember, or skip a line, he'll feed you the lines (even if you miss a single word, he'll patiently feed you the line till you say it correctly) “I haven't got it with me” and “Even I get bored [sic] sometimes, you think I had a choice?” The next line of Rodian gibberish he unfailingly includes 'Jabba' in, which just shows how well he's memorized the Rodian sounds, given that he can't even follow the subtitles, and yet he is very particular about which syllables go where. Josh was the first to notice Isaiah was actually getting at least some of the Rodian gibberish right. We were all very impressed with Isaiah's memory. His favorite part is having you shoot him, and he slumps over dead. However, he is very insistent that Greedo didn't stay dead, he came alive again.

On the subject of Star Wars, here is Jenny sporting 2 sock buns. Isaiah is especially pleased when Jenny wears her hair like this.
I need to make her a little Princess Leia dress to go along with it. Because nothing says toddler play clothes like white....

The kids overall seem to be doing a lot more playing together, and are gradually accepting Mariam as one of the pack, and not just the baby. Mariam always wants to be in the thick of things, to be accepted in their games as an equal.

Which is timely, as baby Sadar is due to make his/her first appearance sometime in early April :)
Jenny has been very excited about this, and has been following along in pictures from my fetal development book.

Her favorite picture is “duh one where baby looks like Admiral Ackbar”, and she seemed kind of disappointed when I pointed out that baby had passed the Ackbar Stage.

Isaiah was just fascinated that the baby is currently naked. “But why does duh baby not wear clothes?” he asks, with shock and some admiration, I think, relishing the newest Sadar's breaking the house rule of No Running Around Naked. (Jenny's current attempted loophole for this is “but I was not running”).

So that's the blog post I wrote last night. Today, at 11 ½ weeks, completely unexpectedly, I started hemorrhaging. We went to the doctor's office, I was bleeding so much, I had very little hope. When the ultrasound technician first brought up the image of the baby, I started crying, thinking I was seeing my dead baby. And then it moved. That was the first miracle. Then the technician measured the baby's heart beat, that was the second miracle.
The doctor diagnosed it as subcorianic (I have no idea if that is spelled right, or if I've even remembered the word right, but I can't handle googling right now) hemorrhage. A condition that some babies make it through. All we can do is rest, wait, and pray. So I'm asking for everyone's prayers.
My in-laws have taken us into their house, are watching the kids, and babying me. I'm lying here, eating freshly cooked liver, in peaceful room, with my laptop, praying.
No matter what happens, I know God is holding our baby. That God knit this little one together, and that He treasures it, and loves it, and is holding my womb in His hand.
Please pray that the baby will stay in me, and live, and get to squish play dough with his/her siblings.
I am so thankful for each one of you reading this post. God is holding all of us.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Of the Rocky Mountains and Stolen Sugar

So...hi's been a while.....

This is what happens, when Hannah gives up the internet. I told myself I was going to wake up at 6am before Josh leaves for work, and get some free wifi and a mcmuffin at McDonalds once a week to post, but it didn't happen. Mostly because I preferred clutching my pillow until the kids come and lovingly climb all over me requesting breakfast. (This is going to change. Basically every “Five Steps to Organizing Your Life and Conquering the World” advice on the internet says I should wake up before the kids. So, it must be true. I'm going to do this and conquer the world...Also, because I've missed writing up the cute things the kids did here.)

We went on a camping trip to the Rockies. 

Many adventures happened, one of which I learned is that it is not a good idea to forget your mechanic told you to change the ATF fluid 10 months ago, and drive it up mountains, to then discover that the transmission fluid is black as mascara.....
But, other than that, it was a good vacation. Lots of rocks, trees, stars, campfires, and loving grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

Also there was dirt. Lots and lots of dirt. Gloriously amazing dirt, that could be stretched out and wallowed in. 
(Isaiah found this irresistible. As soon as my back was turned, he was rubbing it into his face) And no running water (as in, we had to drive 5 miles down the mountain and fill up 5 gal containers). There was a mountain river, roaring with record snowmelt. I just couldn't stick the kids in that, so the result Josh's words, (borrowed from Trumpkin the dwarf) “Uncommonly Grubby Mancubs.” 
But they were happy grubby little mancubs. Really happy.

Jenny has been experimenting with the power of words. She had knocked over the kitchen trashcan, and came to tell me about it.
“Mom, there was a twashcan accident. The twashcan accident happened to Jenny.”
Later, I found Isaiah holding his juicebottle and crying.
“What happened?” I asked.
Isaiah just wept fresh tears, overcome with the tragedy. Jenny helpfully explained “There was an accident”
“What happened?” I asked
“The accident was, I took a sip”

She has also had a very strong interest in theology, asking me about God's love, the nature of the Trinity, the structure of the universe, and other such things that have me scrambling to explain. The other day, she asked to have some tea. As I checked the cabinet, I saw we were out of herbal tea, and explained we didn't have any. She pointed out the teabox. I tried to explain it wasn't her special (non-caffeinated) tea.
“No Jenny, thats regular old black tea for mommy. I need to get you the special tea”
With deep emotion in her voice, she explained to me, “Mommy, you are speciawl. Because Jesus makes you speciawl. Because He woves you”
Later, she observed, “Mariam Hope....that is her name from God. Hope is from God. That is where Hope comes from”
Jenny keeping a grip on Hope
Aunt Cathy has been teaching the kids on Fridays, and it's obviously sinking in, as Isaiah observed, right after we turned out the lights for bed, “But I need to be nocturnal!!”
He is learning a lot, as we watched him count on his own, up to fourteen, “eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen....TWEVEN!!!” His favorite number is still Tweven, which stubbornly exists despite grownups' explanations to the contrary, and which evidently can make its joyous entry into multiple places in the numberline.
But overall, Isaiah also has a firm idea of order, and how the world ought to be, which can result in much weeping when someone else messes with it. Jenny had jammed a doll dress onto a toy dragon.
Isaiah was distraught. He tried to pry it off, but as Jenny was playing with it first, I intervened, and said Jenny could do it. Still agitated, he blurted out “Becuz the dragon doesn't wear a dress!! He's a man!”
Isaiah fixed everyone "icecream cones"

The kids have been playing together more lately. They swing at eachother with their toy swords, with surprisingly little casualties. Even 10 month old Mariam picks up her little Anduril ruler, and bats at the big kids' swords with it.
I watched Keziah go up to the toybox, and then toddle back, wearing a helmet, wielding a sword, and holding out a sword to offer to Daddy. Josh took it, and they began to spar. 
Isaiah got excited, and started looking for another helmet, but was having trouble locating one. Kuzzles saw he was having trouble, offered him her helmet, and continued to spar, bareheaded.
When Puzzles is not throwing 6 tantrums a day (Broken crackers, too hot eggs, too cold eggs, the world was full of sorrow that day...) she is so sweet that my chest aches from the cuteness.

At one point Isaiah was assigning roles “Dese are duh good blue Israelites” he motioned to me and Mariam, “And dese are duh bad red philistines!” he motioned to himself, Jenny, and Keziah. Jenny who was sitting in a laundry basket full of stuffed animals (as she is wont to do) declared with conviction “DESE ARE NOT PHIWISTINES. DESE ARE MY FWENDS”

We had fun making cookies together. I let them all help (before I put in the eggs)
Here are the industrious children.

Later, as I and the three older kids were shaping them, we heard a thump from the kitchen. I was distracted, and didn't think much of it, until I returned into the kitchen and found this.
She had evidently managed to use the broom handle to knock the sugar tub down, and had been quietly enjoying the fruit of her labor for the last 5 minutes.
Mariam continues to be the most joyful little person I have ever met. If things are slow, she starts to laugh to liven things up a bit.
Once, all of the others were in active melt-down, sobbing over broken graham crackers, lukewarm snacks, seconds on juice, and other such tragedies. Mariam alone, among the wails, looked me in the eyes, and grinned. I can almost hear her little cheerful voice in my head, saying “Turn that frown, upside down!”

I have been trying to get the kids to help put away toys. So far, I haven't had much luck, despite the promises of great glory that are sticker charts and MacDonald's ice cream cones.
The other day, I had sat down on the couch to nurse the baby, and Jenny picked up 2 stuffed animals, and put them in the toybox. She then came up to me and said with genuine and complete moral indignation “Mommy, you need to cwean up! I cannot do aww duh work myself!”