Thursday, December 28, 2006


We're in Pennsylvania right now. We got here about 1am Wednesday morning. It was a good trip. We left our house about 3pm Tuesday afternoon. We had two little flights on small airplanes, each about an hour and a half...also, about an hour and a half layover in Atlanta. Our kids didn't sleep at all the whole way, but they did really well. Even Asa only slept a little bit on the last flight. She did great was her first flying experience.

We are now just enjoying family time. Joel's grandparents live here in Ephrata, in Lancaster County. Joel's mom is one of eight children...they all live here around Ephrata. Joel's mom and family drove down yesterday from Boston where they live.

Right now I am in a parking lot. :) We don't have internet access at Joel's grandparents' house, so we had to drive around to get a wireless signal. :) Just wanted to let you all know where we are and what we are doing. We're having a great time and hopefully soon I will post more and on our website:

Grady was in his first Christmas program the Wednesday before Christmas. He was really into it. His little class sang Silent Night. He was so cute...and really knew the song. That's Kiley, our cousin, on the far left. They have AWANA on Wednesday nights at the church we go to's a great program...they are in the Cubbie class.

Like I said, he was really into it and did great. SO CUTE!!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I've Decided...

I'm going to just have to stay fat...until after the holidays that is. :)

Seriously, this is my last holiday season at "home" for who knows how long. I'm not even going to restrain myself from Granny's pecan pralines, chocolate pies, little fried fruit pies, etc. etc. etc. That would be pure foolishness. And, 5 years from now when I'm in some Amazon area wishing I had some of those things, I'm going to be kicking myself and thinking that those extra pounds just weren't worth it. Do you know what I mean? No, we are going to eat and we are going to enjoy. So there.

If you see me and I'm still a fatty...well, now you will understand. Besides, I did just have a baby 2 months ago. I guess after the holidays in that small period before Jan. 13th (the day I have to wear that gorgeous strapless gown), I will be starving myself. Then on the day of the 13th, guess I'll have to get one of those lace-up corset things and hire me a "Mammy" to tie me up...REALLY tight. :)

Monday, December 18, 2006


Me: "Grady, you are my favorite little boy."

Grady (age 2 years 11 months): "You're my favorite little Mama."

Friday, December 15, 2006

Crazy Kids

Hadley was in the middle of saying "No" here. Since they had just gotten up from a nap, she was not in the mood for a picture. Her hair is SO crazy after naps.

I just kept snapping away on the camera.

She just continued to look at me like I was nuts.

Grady was having a good time though.

He was really laughing about the hard time he was having taking his shirt off.

And finally, he was able to do it...with a little pulling of his scalp.

These aren't crazy pictures, but just wanted to include this beautiful little girl. She's so fun and sweet.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


When I use the term "redneck" here, I am not in any way trying to offend. True rednecks are proud to be rednecks and wouldn't be offended anyway. But, if ever there was a Redneckville, this is truly describes some of the things that are seen here. Again, not being offensive...and all you Saline rednecks...I'm sure you take it as a compliment.

A couple of days ago, I went running on the dam since it was a beautiful 68 degrees at 10am. This is what I saw: (cracks me up I tell you)

Yes, folks...these are 2 deer heads hanging on the stop sign. Now, during the summer there are usually humongous fish heads hanging from this sign...the results of noodlers in the area (if you don't know what noodling is, you can google it...or you can go to this website...this is a very entertaining article about noodling that I found... But, during hunting season...2 nice deer heads.

Notice the power lines. On the left there are some shoes that have been hanging there forever. On the right, yep...more deer parts...2 deer legs. Interesting, huh? I know all you sightseers out there are wishing you could take a nice Sunday drive around here. :) So funny.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

You Might Be From Louisiana If...

My brother sent me this a few days ago. It is SO true. Since I seem to be on a roll with describing the "culture" of where we are now, thought this would fit right in and that you might enjoy.

You are from Louisiana if:

1. You can properly pronounce Lafayette, Bossier, Natchitoches, Opelousas, Shongaloo, Pontchartrain, Ouachita, and you know that New Orleans doesn't have a long "e" sound anywhere in it.

2. You think people who complain about the heat in their states are sissies.

3. A tornado warning siren is your signal to go out in the yard and look for a funnel.

4. You know that the true value of a parking space is not determined by the distance to the door, but by the availability of shade.

5. Stores don't have bags, they have sacks.

6. You've seen people wear bib overalls at funerals. (Just Recently)

7. You think everyone from a bigger city has an accent.

8. You measure distance in minutes.

9. Little Smokies are something you serve only for special occasions.

10. You go to the lake because you think it is like going to the ocean.

11. You listen to the weather forecast before picking out an outfit.

12. You know cowpies are not made of beef.

13. Someone you know has used a football schedule or hunting season guide to plan their wedding date.

14. You have known someone who has a belt buckle bigger than your fist.

15. You aren't surprised to find movie rental, ammunition, beer, and bait all in the same store.

16. A Mercedes Benz isn't a status symbol. A Chevy Silverado Extended Bed Crew Cab Truck is.

17. You know everything goes better with 'Ranch'.

18. You learned how to shoot a gun before you learned how to multiply.

19. You actually get these jokes and are "fixin" to send them to your friends.

20. Finally, you are 100% Louisianian if you have ever had this conversation:

"You want a coke?"


"What kind?"

"Dr. Pepper."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Remember This?

This was last February. This little onesie was how we told everyone that we were pregnant with little Asa Rose.

Well, it's crazy what about 10 months can do. Asa was 2 months old on Sunday.

Well, What Do You Know?

I guess a little bit of complaining isn't always bad. Since my last post it has gotten nice and warm here. I even ran today in shorts and a was in the 60s. Ni-i-ice. I know it is short-lived, but still nice while it's here.

That's another thing about this part of the country though. The weather is so crazy. You just never know what to expect this time of year. The summer is hot...simple. The fall and winter is very unpredictable. It will be cold sweater and coat weather one day and warm shorts and short sleeve shirt weather the next. Also, within the same day the temperature can jump or fall 30 degrees. We'll start the day out with ice on the windshield and then it will be sunny and 70 in the afternoon. When you are going to be out and about all day long, it's hard to know how to dress because it's cold in the mornings and at night, but you need your shorts on in the afternoon. Anyhow, just another little bit of information about the south. Our coldest weather is usually in January and February...from what I remember, it's pretty consistently cold then. I personally enjoy wearing shorts on Christmas day though.

It's now raining as I type this.

SCORE!! I just looked at the 10-day forecast and it is supposed to be in the 60s and 70s that whole time...the whole 10 days. Of course, at night and in the mornings it will be about 30 degrees lower than that as I said, but woohoo...I guess the warmer weather won't be as short-lived as I was preparing myself for.

We go to Pennsylvania on the 26th for about a week or so. Guess we'll get plenty of colder weather there. :)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I Hate Cold

I despise cold. Last night it was 20 degrees as we drove around in our loaned van which is choosing to only have intermittent heating. Last night was one of the times it chose not to work. I hate cold weather and being cold. If God wanted to really test me, or if anyone wanted to ever torture me or anything...just send me somewhere cold. I hate cold weather. Thank God for the tropical climate of Brazil. I hate cold weather. Sunny, coat-free days are for me.

Did I mention that I hate cold weather? Seriously, I hate it.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Just An Update

We are doing well. I think I may have mentioned this before, but I feel like my life is just a neverending packing/unpacking session these days...since February that is. I know it is short-term. But, in actuality, I haven't been able to totally unpack and settle into a place the whole time we've been married since we have moved every year...and since, even before that year was up, we always knew that place was a temporary place. When will it be permanent (not permanent as in forever, but permanent enough to unpack all of our stuff)?

Crazy thing is that I wonder if I'll totally be bored out of my gourd if I do stay in one place for longer than a year. :) I doubt it really...esp. with 3 kids now...really, how could I ever be bored? There will be plenty to do.

Another crazy thing is that according to the plan, when we do get to Brazil we will only be living in our first destination guessed it...a year. :) Maybe after that we will live somewhere longer.

In other news, the kids are doing great. We have really been in the training mode a lot and punishing. Thankfully after really being diligent in expecting first-time obedience, the punishing part is decreasing. It's really been hard with all of that while we were on the move. Now that we will be here for the next 3-5 months or so (that's our estimate), hopefully we can be a little more consistent. Even then, depending on where we are (after all, we aren't at our house 24/7), it is still hard to be completely consistent and hold to the same standard and practices when we are out and about.

They are so sweet though. The other day Joel took Grady and Hadley for a walk. They sat on the dock for a while, practicing being really quiet and listening to the birds. Grady decided he wanted to go running, so he took off. Hadley took off after him. Grady saw that she was following him, so he stopped running, went back to her, and held her hand while they walked together along the lake. So sweet.

Asa is doing very well too. She is a super cute chunk. She is now 12 pounds, still has lots of dark hair, and smiles all the time. She talks alot too. She's always smiled and has been cooing since she was 3 weeks old. But, she is beginning to be more and more responsive. I think it's not too much longer 'til she starts laughing out loud. Really fun.

As I type this, Hadley is already taking her nap. She fell asleep early today. Asa is sleeping too. So, it's just me and Grady...he is eating his lunch and talking to me. Can't imagine just having him...but, it sure is quiet and peaceful right now. :) It's crazy what a difference it is with just 2 of them...the other day I just had Hadley and Asa. What a difference. Two toddlers will keep you busy, that's for sure.

Welp, speaking of busy, I'd better get that way in the kitchen. Until another day...

Grady and Hadley with their cousins, Kiley (next to Grady, age 3 1/2) and Skylar (2). They live here in Saline and also go to the same church we do, so they see each other a lot. Hadley and Skylar are in the nursery together and Grady and Kiley are in the same class on Sundays and Wednesday nights. Fun stuff.

The sisters.

Happily playing.

What is that Hadley doing?

Smiling Asa Rose.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

15 Years

At this time fifteen years ago, I was sitting in a waiting room at Lincoln General Hospital. I was a senior in high school.

The spring of my junior year Mama and Daddy called me and Jared (my brother, 3 1/2 years younger than me) out into the living room. They had something to tell us. We listened intently as they told us that we were going to have a little brother or sister.

My first reaction was laughter. Me and Jared literally fell out on the floor laughing.

My second reaction was of irritation. I had been trying to talk those people into giving me more little brothers and sisters for years. Geez...this was not the time. I would be out of the house in the next couple of years. That reaction lasted all of 2 seconds though...and it's not like they had really planned it or anything either.

I then went into cautious mode. I was super excited, but I knew that pregnancies sometime ended in miscarriage. And let's face it, Mama wasn't a spring chicken after all (she was 2 months shy of 40 when she delivered). But, as the months went by, even that cautious mode faded.

On the night of Dec. 4th (a Wednesday night), we came home from church and Daddy was driving out our driveway. He said that he was taking Mama to the hospital. The only problem with that story was that Mama wasn't in the vehicle with him. We asked him if he was serious and he just laughed, saying that he was joking.

At 3am that morning though, he came to my door and said the same thing. I woke out of a dead sleep and said, "Whatever, you are not." He laughed and told me to look at the clock. He wasn't joking at that time in the morning and I realized it was for real.

They went to the hospital. A little while later, my aunt came and got me and Jared and we went too. We waited and waited and waited. Around 1:30 or so that afternoon me and Jared had to go. We had a basketball game that night and needed to go so we could make it to that. At this point in my life, it seems really crazy that I left the hospital that day for a basketball game, but that's just the way it was. Anyhow, I think he was born at something like 2:09. We just missed it.

We went straight home from the hospital to get our stuff for the game. We got the call from Mama and Daddy there telling us that it was a boy weighing 6 lbs. 9 oz. (he was the smallest of us 3 babies, but he was also a couple of weeks early). They asked us if we still thought Tucker was a good name. We said yes and Tucker Lendon Madden it was.

He quickly became our favorite thing on Earth. He was a fun little guy and we always wanted him to go everywhere with us. It was so great at that age (I was 17 1/2 when he was born), basically having all of the advantages of a grandparent...I could play with him all I wanted, but when he got fussy, back to Mama he went.

He's all grown up now, but he's still a ton of fun...SO MUCH fun.

Oh, how we love that Tucker Lendon Madden.


Monday, December 04, 2006

Another All-Time Favorite

I saw this a year or two ago and love it. I think it is really funny...I love crazy stuff like this.

Friday, December 01, 2006

You Have GOT To See This

Even baby pandas have to sneeze.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Another Culture

Ahh, a nice sunset at my favorite place on Earth...the lake we now live on. This is the view from the dam/spillway. Just to the left of where the sun is setting is my family's lake lots. To the right is where we live now.

I'm telling you, it's cracking me up being back in Saline. I love it, but I seriously can't believe how much I'd forgotten.

Just a few examples:

1. We hear gunshots all the time. Now, every other place I've lived, if you hear a gunshot it causes great concern. Here,'s just another dead deer. :) It's hunting season...there's gunshots constantly. Even when it isn't hunting season, if someone wants to go do some target practice, heck, they just go out in the woods somewhere or in the backyard...not uncommon to hear gunshots at all.

2. Tonight at church we walked out into the parking lot about 10 feet from the church building (just the front of the church...not really a parking lot...not a paved one that is) and the teenage boys were looking at a big shotgun. Apparently it was a camouflage gun or something (didn't really get the full story) and they were seeing their friend's gun for the first time. It was just funny, because that is so common here. Joel remarked that anywhere else, that might be cause for alarm. :)

3. Also tonight, one of the teenagers there had a big knife in a sheath on his belt. It cracked me up...he and another boy were admiring it during class. So common...seriously, not a common thing in other places. Louisiana is the "sportman's paradise" I guess.

These are just a few things that are so funny. Nothing bad or anything, just funny to me. I totally grew up with that being the norm...I've just been away from that for so long now that I had forgotten, so it shocks me now and makes me laugh.

Some of the super duper things about small town south:

1. We opened an account at the general store downtown the other day. That's where you can just go in and have it written down what you got in the store, then pay the balance later...a charge account. I just put my name on the folder that they keep the receipts in and that was it. I didn't even sign anything. Talk about the honor system. It's great.

2. "Yes ma'am, yes sir." Now to some that didn't grow up with that, that might seem a little too formal, stuffy, and weird (Joel said he's getting used to it). But, I did grow up with it, so I love it (although it's weird when they say it to me). I have personally gotten out of the habit of saying that myself since it's been so long since I've lived anywhere where they really say that (even in Longview, 2 1/2 hours west of here, they really don't say that...don't call their elders Mr. and Mrs. either). But, I really hope that my kiddos can develop this habit...and of course that I will instill this in them. I guess it depends on our surroundings though. Not sure what they do in Brazil.

3. Southern drawl. Again, to some it is annoying. Some people automatically think "stupid hick" when they hear a drawl. It's a great sound to me...I love a good southern drawl.

4. The expressions. I love the expressions people have around here. I always have. Tonight, again in the youth class, a guy was reading a passage (the passage where Paul talks about doing the things that he doesn't want to do and not doing the things he should) in the King James Version. Of course the poor guy wasn't understanding a thing he was is quite the tongue twister in the KJV. But, in the middle of it, he exclaimed with disbelief at what he was reading, "By George!" If you ever want to see just a small glimpse at what Saline is similar to, just rent the movie "Sweet Home Alabama." In that movie at one point the Dad (Daddy as we call them) gives instructions to close the door saying, "You're lettin' all the bought air out." Now, of course he is talking about the air conditioner. I saw this movie at the theater in cracked me up, but nobody I was with got this or many other things in that movie (I was with a couple of from Phoenix, another from a small town, but not in the south). It was funny.

Welp, of course these aren't exhaustive lists, but just thought I'd comment on our life here a little. I personally felt like I had huge culture shock when I moved to was hard for me. Moving back here isn't culture's just culture remembrance. It's fun...and funny for me. You definitely don't have to move to another country to experience different cultures...that's for sure.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Sunday night I had the overwhelming joy of seeing Steve Thrasher get baptized. He is a changed person. We weren't even supposed to go back for the night service, but I just couldn't miss it when he told me he was getting baptized. I have been praying for Steve basically since 7th grade...that's 20 years (wow, am I that old?). Honestly, I started praying for him because I had a crush on him...he was my "bad boy" crush. :) Yes, missionary dating is the way to go (sarcasm). But, through the years, even after I was married to Joel, I always had this huge burden for him and kept praying for him often. To see him get baptized on Sunday night was amazing.

He is currently in a faith-based rehab. program called Teen Challenge. If you don't know anything about it, it is a fantastic program that not only has a wonderful success rate regarding getting people set free from addictions, but also really shows people the love of Christ. Steve is doing great. I always felt that if God really got a hold of his heart, he could do amazing things for Christ. He has such a great personality and is one of the funniest people I've ever met. He seriously should have been dead many wrecks, heart problems, his 15-yr. addiction to drugs of every kind. He talked to me alot on Sunday. He knows that it's only by the grace of God that he is still here and that God must surely have something for him to do. I am so happy for him and continue to pray for him, that God would accomplish the many great things through Steve that He clearly has planned for him.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Joel talks about how sometimes God gives us lollipops...things He doesn't have to give us, that aren't necessary...things that are treats and that sometimes we aren't even expecting or asking for. Living on the lake in Saline is a lollipop for me.

Growing up, my dream was to make the big move from Readhimer to the lake in Saline (about a 4-mile move). :) I was absolutely in love with the lake from as far back as I can remember. I always really thought that I would marry some local boy and live on the lake for the rest of my life. I was appalled at myself that I even moved to East Texas, much less a place like Brazil. I wasn't sheltered or backwards or un-adventurous. I liked to visit places and go on short trips. But, I always just figured I'd do just that...take trips, but live on the lake in Saline.

How sweet of God to let me do that, even for just a short period of time. I tell you what, if you are obedient God will definitely give you some lollipops along the way.

Here are just a few lollipops that I've gotten:
--At the end of our Life Challenge mission trip to Honduras in '99, we had a day to play. We were taken to a place that was like a national park of sorts. We were met as we got off the bus by young local boys who worked as guides (who spoke no English). We were "herded" quickly down the banks of this river to the bottom of a huge waterfall that we hiked was crazy. Then we were guided along the river to the top of another smaller (but still big) waterfall...this time we got in the water and ran down the rock which was the spillway for this waterfall and jumped in. It was really crazy to be running down a waterfall. Then, right as we surfaced from that jump, we were led up to the top of the bank and told to jump off...a 60 foot jump. We did it. SO CRAZY. But, it was so fun. I was actually able to do the jump twice before we were shuffled back to the picnic area.
--After that day at the park, we were supposed to leave the next day. We got to the airport, but because of overbooking our whole group was delayed a the airline put us up in the nicest hotel in a 5-star swanky place. It was dang cool, and so much fun.
--At the end of our Life Challenge mission trip to Panama in 2000, we had another day to play. One of our contacts there knew this guy who had a house on the beach. So, we traveled to the beach (one of the coolest beaches I've ever been to) and spent the whole day there, snacking on sugar cane. It was awesome.
--This is kind of quirky, but I have always thought it was cool when someone was left-handed. Therefore, I always thought it would be cool to marry someone that was left-handed. I know...a little weird. It was only after Joel and I had decided to marry that I realized he was left-handed. Funny too because we had been close friends for about a year and a half before that and I hadn't even noticed that about him. It's like God had blinded me to even that little thing about him so that I wouldn't be attracted to him before the proper time. But, left-handedness is cool. :)
--I've always loved dimples. I never even thought to pray for this little extra, but all of my kids have dimples. SO FUN.

So, those are just a few of the lollipops that I've had in recent years...the list goes on and on...there are tons. And here I am again enjoying a lollipop. My spiritual teeth are rotten from all the lollipops. :)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving...

...from our family to yours.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Deer Corn

Wow...we are back in small town Louisiana for sure. :)

It is so funny to see all of the differences in the places we've lived. It's been about 12 years since I've actually lived in Saline, LA (except for a couple of summers home from college). I had forgotten some things. For instance, yesterday in Jonesboro (a town about 30 minutes away where the nearest Wal-Mart is located) there was just a sea of camouflage everywhere we went. When we were in Wal-Mart, almost every buggy had deer corn in it. Yep, deer season is soon and very soon. So funny and interesting to compare that to, let's say, Phoenix...hundreds of miles away in more ways than one.

Welp, better go. Off to go to Granny Hough's house to let her see Asa Rose for the first time. Then it's time for the finals of the Saline Basketball Tournament...our boys and girls are playing. My brother plays and Daddy coaches. Fun stuff.

Oh, another thing that is fun about small towns...and the small Baptist churches in them...Thanksgiving dinner (that is lunch to most of you) tomorrow after services. Yippee!! :)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Big Fat Lie

We don't mean to be liars, but our lives are just so unpredictable. I know that sometimes we seem really flakey and wishy-washy, but we really aren't. We just don't know our plans from day-to-day, week-to-week, etc. We are just in a season right now where no plans are set. I know that for the people in Longview, this has been the longest goodbye ever...basically since last February. :)

Turns out, we aren't going to Saline today. There was some schedule conflicts with the house we are going to be staying in. So, we will wait until later in the week to go.

Even before we were in this kind of season where our lives are so completely unpredictable, Joel always said that we write our plans in pencil and let God have the eraser.

See you in Saline...whenever.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Packing Up

Well, here we go again. It seems like my life is just one packing day after another these days. Not only are we basically gypsies right now, add to that having a new baby and a season change and there's a ton more packing and unpacking of new sizes and seasonal clothing. Whew...I hope to get a break soon. :) Packing isn't my favorite, esp. now after months of it.

An update is that we are moving to Saline. That was the plan when we moved here to move to Saline after the baby came. Well, then several different things happened and Joel wasn't too sure about a job there, etc. We just weren't sure if that was where we were supposed to be. But, after lots of prayer, we felt like that was where God would have us be.

So we are headed to Saline tomorrow. We will be there for 10 days for sure. We will be living in the house we lived in during the summer when we were there...the one on the lake. That house was actually occupied until this past spring...the owners of that house are now deceased. All of their belongings were still in the house during the summer when we were there. Our friends, the son and daughter-in-law of the owners of this house, are now busy cleaning out all of their belongings. Depending on where they are with all of that, we will either move all of our stuff that will already be packed up over the week of Thanksgiving...or we will come back to Kilgore for a couple of weeks and move around the 2nd week of December. Either way, we are moving.

Joel will be working part-time at Northwestern State University as a flight instructor while we are there. He's really excited about getting back into instructing and flying on a regular basis...and the mission field that he will have there at that university. Hopefully I will have a chance to settle down a little...set up house, not pack and unpack for a while, really spend time with our kiddos.

The kids are doing great by the way. Asa is growing like a weed, her acne is much better although still not completely gone, and she is cooing tons this morning.

Better go...tons to do.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


That's how many pounds I've lost since Monday 3 days. Not bad. I haven't even started really exercising yet either.

I tell you, that Weight Watchers is the way to go. And believe me, it is totally safe...I am eating enough for sure, it's just of the right things and not in gargantuan portions. It truly is a reflection of how much I was overeating. Can we say gluttony? :)

I mean, other than the fact that it isn't Godly at all (because it truly is gluttony), I have thoroughly enjoyed myself the last 3 months...the beginning of August was when I started eating just whatever I wanted (lots of junk) and however much I wanted of it. It's nice to be back on track though.

After this weekend (I knew it was my last weekend...on Sunday alone, I went to a great Mexican restaurant and then I went to Baskin Robbins and had a big ice cream cone AND a mocha blast...mmmm!), I actually had 38 pounds to lose instead of 35. So, I guess 34 more to go. :) Hopefully it will go quickly though. We'll see. I'll keep you posted.

Also, there should be more pictures up on the website later today, so check them out.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Acne Is Never Good

No matter what your age.

Asa Rose has baby acne. So sad. Of course it doesn't bother her...and she's still beautiful. ;) But, you looks pretty bad. It's on her cheeks and a little on her forehead. Then this morning I found 2 whiteheads on her little chest. There really is no treatment for it. We just have to wait it out. They say that it could come and go for a few months. We are praying it just goes. Thankfully Grady and Hadley never had it...not that I remember anyway.

She's still so much fun of course, blemishes and all. A couple of days ago she started kind of talking a know, a coo every now and then. It might be completely involuntarily, but it doesn't seem to be. She does it in responses to my talking to her and corresponds her cooing with smiling. She's growing up. :) She was 3 weeks old on Tuesday. She started cooing the same day that I saw Grady put on his own shoes and socks for the first time. I was like, "Oh my gosh...he's growing up." Yep, time marches on.

Read a cute little article about baby acne this morning. Here is the link if you want to see it:

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Weight Watchers, Here I Come!!

Copy and paste that link and you'll see the bridesmaid dress I have to fit into on January 13th. And I don't want to just fit into a dress. I would prefer my body not look like "two pigs fighting under a blanket" every time I move. So, I have some work to do. I have 35 pounds to lose between now and January. Unfortunately, the two months between now and then happen to be the months full of gorging oneself. Eeeek! Oh well. We'll see how I do. I'm pretty determined...we'll see if I can mix that determination up with some diligence and restraint and shed some pounds. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Go On WiCha Bad Self, God!!

It truly is a miracle.

Grady was just a few hours old when he started screaming inconsolably. Of course my milk hadn't come in, but he was just ravenous. He would scream bloody murder if he wasn't latched on. That was fine for a while, but the kid couldn't stay latched on forever. He wasn't getting anything it seemed (he wasn't swallowing at all) and he was just getting tired. Finally, after having him latched on for about 2 hours straight (and for most of the time period, on and off), we opted to give him a little supplementation. This went on for the first 3 days of his life I guess...or until my milk came in that is. I think my milk came in on Monday night...I had him on Saturday morning. Anyhow, my milk came in but I never had any engorgement or anything...not even almost engorgement. I talked to several lactation consultants over the phone over the next few weeks and read tons of books and pamphlets on the subject of breastfeeding. Everyone kept telling me that they were sure Grady was getting enough...that I was just being a paranoid new mother. They said that I just needed to relax. They said that if I just fed Grady often, the supply would be there...the whole supply/demand rule of thumb. First of all, I am always pretty dadgum relaxed. I knew that wasn't the issue. Secondly, I fed Grady all the time...there was nothing there. Poor thing still wasn't ever really even swallowing when I fed him. And, even though I was a new mother, I knew my kiddo wasn't being satisfied, or even almost satisfied...he was constantly awake and crying. He was miserable. So, throughout the first few weeks, we kept having to supplement him.

Finally when he was about 6 weeks old, I decided that I was going to a lactation consultant and meeting with her face-to-face. I had already been taking some herbs recommended to me. Basically, this is what the lactation consultant told me to do: 1) I rented a hospital-grade pump and after I had nursed Grady and then supplemented him, I would pump on each side for at least 15 minutes
2) I was given even more herbs to take and more teas to drink
3) of course I drank water nonstop
Good thing I didn't have other kids at this point...these things took up ALL of my time.

When Grady was around 13 weeks old, I flew with him to Louisiana to visit family. The pumping was supposed to boost my supply by upping the demand you see. Didn't work. The lactation consultant would weigh Grady, let me feed him, then weigh him again and be able to tell how many ounces he truly was getting. Basically the conclusion, even on follow-up visits, was that I was making about half of what he required...even after the pumping and taking the herbs and drinking the teas and tons of water. So, when I flew to Louisiana I decided that God would just have to heal me if He wanted me to nurse Grady. I definitely wasn't packing along a hospital-grade pump. I decided that 6 weeks was long enough to do all of that stuff.

So, I just nursed him and when he wasn't satisfied I gave him a bottle. After about 3-4 weeks of this, my milk was completely gone. So, when he was around 3-3 1/2 months old, he became a fully bottle-fed baby.

We prayed and prayed that I would be able to feed Hadley just fine...without any complications and without having to pump or take herbs, etc. Well, she came and basically it was the same as it was with Grady. I went to the same lactation consultant before Hadley was even a week old. My milk had come in when Hadley was about a day and a half old, but still the same...not enough. I knew my history and so I was able to tackle the problem quicker this time. I did all the things that I did before. We also were able to figure out that along with just not making enough milk, my let-down response was "broken." :) I would have a let-down, the baby would actually get milk for about a minute or less...then there would be no more milk until I had another let-down, which was always 5-10 minutes later. With Grady and with Hadley I was told to take this stuff that is supposed to relax you, therefore allowing you to have a let-down easier. I took it very obediently, even though I knew that wasn't the problem. As mentioned before, I'm not the kind who gets uptight. I would be so relaxed that I was sleeping, hello...and still no change in my let-down and the baby being satisfied. So, no...that didn't work either.

I pumped and did that whole thing with Hadley for about a week and a half. Then I came to my senses and decided that it was totally ridiculous. It hadn't helped with Grady and it hadn't done a single thing in helping this time with Hadley either. I decided I was done being attached to a pump, so I took it back. The lactation consultant finally mentioned something that was a bit controversial and hard to come by. It kind of irritated me that she hadn't mentioned this when I was struggling through trying to nurse Grady, but whatever...she told me about a drug called domperidone (Motilium). It isn't approved here in the U.S. Basically there is another drug that is already approved here that does basically the same thing (Reglan), so there's no need in spending all that money to have domperidone approved, but one of the side effects of this gut medication is that it promotes milk supply...weird huh? So, we found one certified nurse midwife that would prescribe it for a short amount of time to see if it would work to get things going...the hope was that I could take it for 2-3 weeks and that would do the trick to get things going. I did that and it worked great, but I was never able to get off of it. The midwife wasn't comfortable coninuing to prescribe it, so we had to order it off the internet from Europe. :) But, thank God for domperidone...I was able to nurse Hadley exclusively. When she was around 6 months old, we started offering her a bottle (formula) at night...sometimes she would take it, but most of the time she was satisfied with just nursing. So, it was a great gift to be able to nurse Hadley, even though I did have to take medication to be able to do so.

So, there's my history. What happened this time can be explained no other way than a true healing...a miracle of God. I have done nothing differently, except that I haven't pumped or taken a ton of herbs. I have been drinking Mother's Milk Tea, but that's just because I had some and I like it...I really don't think it's necessary. I have also been drinking alot of water, but no more than anyone is supposed to drink. And, it's perfect. God totally and completely healed me and we are so grateful and thankful. It's been so great. Nursing without the hassle of all those other things is such a blessing. For all of you who have nursed your babies without any problem, I am finally getting to see how good you've had it. :)

I've never been totally against formula or anything...good thing since I needed the help of formula, esp. with Grady (just a sidenote babies always preferred the breast over a nipple confusion with them...and, they always knew exactly how to latch on, so that wasn't an issue either). And, my reasoning for wanting to nurse exclusively was not for the bonding aspect either. To put it bluntly, I don't have to have a baby attached to my boob in order to bond with him/her. We all know that breastmilk is better than formula...that's a given. But formula isn't does the job when needed. My reasoning for wanting to nurse exclusively is two-fold:
1. It's just so dang don't have to worry with bottles and formula and water to mix it with, etc. The baby's food is always with you. SO nice.
2. As you've seen in other posts, with most things I really prefer the all-natural way. Breastfeeding is definitely the all-natural way. It is, in my opinion, the way God meant it to be. I really wanted to feed my baby the way Eve would've done it in the Garden of Eden, and the way millions and millions of women have done it since then.

Thank God I am experiencing that now. Go God!! It truly is a miracle and we are praising God about every 3 hours these days (every time Asa nurses). :)

By the way, you can check out pictures of Asa's 2nd week on the website now:

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

2 weeks

Asa is 2 weeks old as of today at 9:29 AM. She continues to do very well. She is such a sweet little baby whose favorite things to do are eat, poop, sleep, and smile. She is on a very good schedule now, even going up to 5 hours between feedings at night. It's nice. My milk continues to be plentiful and we are so very thankful for that...maybe more on that in a future post. It truly is a miracle healing from God.

Now that the baby is here and everything is stabilizing in that area (baby doing great; I am healing up very nicely and about back to normal as far as activity), our focus has been turned to our next steps as far as preparations to go to Brazil in the next few months. Several things have happened in the past week or two that have thrown several things up in the air (i.e. living in Saline vs. living in Longview until we go, etc.), so if you would, please pray for our direction as far as all of those things go.

We will keep you posted as to what is going on with us. And now here is a picture of the kiddos. Remember to go to our website occasionally for new pictures of our crew: We plan to update the pictures every week or so.

The kids keeping Asa entertained...they are very good at it. Hadley always shares her doll with Asa.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Asa Rose

I said in a previous post that I would tell you more about the name here we are...more about her name...

Since we've been back in E. Texas, Joel's been really getting alot out of his devo.'s in 2 Chronicles. For a week or two before Asa was born, he was camped out in the story of King Asa, found in 2 Chronicles 14-16. King Asa was a great king. When introducing Asa in 14:1-2, it says that "there was peace in the land for ten years, for Asa did what was pleasing and good in the sight of the Lord his God." He tore down all of the things that were not of God and built up the things that were of God. Verse 7 says, "The land is ours because we sought the Lord our God, and He has given us rest from our enemies." In the last part of Chapter 14, Asa and his army were being attacked by the Ethiopians. They were very outnumbered. Asa cried out to God and said, "O Lord, no one but you can help the powerless against the mighty! Help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in you alone. It is in your name that we have come against this vast horde. O Lord, you are our God; do not let mere men prevail against you!" God fought the battle for them, and of course won.

In 15:2, a prophet is sent to speak to Asa saying, "The Lord will stay with you as long as you stay with Him! Whenever you seek Him, you will find Him. But if you abandon Him, He will abandon you." Asa was hard-core...he followed God at all costs...he even "deposed his grandmother Maacah from her position as queen mother because she had made an obscene Asherah pole."

Unfortunately, in Chapter 16 it shows how Asa began to trust in his own understanding instead of continuing to cry out to God. The plan Asa had when dealing with the king of Baasha worked great, but it wasn't God's plan. What seemed right in Asa's eyes (and probably all of his contemporaries) was inferior to the way God wanted to deal with it. "The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him." (v. 9)

It goes on to say that Asa became mad, his heart was hardened, from them on he was at war and he also began to oppress some of his people. He developed a serious foot disease and even when it became life-threatening, he did not seek the Lord's help but instead went to doctors. Sad end to his life.

So, that's the Asa that Asa Rose's name came from. Even the bad part of his life...much can be learned from it and it is just such a good warning to live your life fully committed to God and His ways at all times.

Over 24 hours after Asa was born was when we named her. We were just praying about her name and we really wanted the name God wanted for her. We liked several names, but none of the names really grabbed us and we just didn't feel like they were the names for our baby. We prayed, Joel opened his Bible to have his devo.'s, and then he said, "How about Asa?" Ding ding!! I said, "I love it." Finally a name with some grab to it. We immediately felt complete peace and felt like she truly was "Asa."

I did a search online to find out what Asa means. One of the meanings I found out later was "born at dawn"...a Hebrew male name. But, the ones that I saw first were for a Hebrew female, meaning "healer." How perfect!! It was total confirmation that Asa truly was her name. Not only do we need healing in certain areas of our lives right now as far as some specific relationships and issues that I can't really discuss, but it was just totally our baby...she had been a "healer" to my body already in her short 24 hours of life. As previously stated in the birth story, there were lots of things that had been so great about this birth...hardly any tearing was the major thing. We had prayed so much for that since I had bad experiences with that in the past. The other thing which is even more huge since it is long-term is the breastfeeding issue. I have been healed, praise God. Whatever was wrong with my body and breastfeeding's gone...I am still breastfeeding exclusively with plenty of milk for Asa. So, was the perfect name.

We have 2-word descriptions for each of our children related to their names and what they mean and just our vision for them individually. Grady's is "noble knight." Hadley's is "sweet joy." Asa's, as related to King Asa's life and the meaning of Asa..."peaceful healer."

As previously stated, Rose comes from Joel's aunt. Maybe in the future I will go into more detail about Grady's and Hadley's names and how we were given their names and all.

So, there you have it...Asa Rose.

Also, Asa was a week old on Tuesday. She is doing great. For pictures of her first week, go to our website and click on the Pictures section:

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Asa's Birth Story

O.K., for those of you who don't like these kinds of stories...stop reading. :) For those of you who know me well, you know that I'm not shy about speaking in medical terms in graphic detail, even about my own body. But, this is super tame. So, just use your best judgment.

We got back to East Texas Sept. 9th. We moved into the guest house the 10th. That week we got to work getting everything ready for when the baby came...we just knew that it was going to come any day (esp. me). :) Joel took care of the kids mostly (a big job) while I set up house, made meals to freeze, bought everything needed for the home birth, etc. We were busy, hurrying to get everything done before the baby came.

Around Sept. 15th I started losing some of my mucus plug. Even though I knew that that didn't really mean anything (I knew that some people start doing this weeks before their baby is born sometimes), last time, with Hadley, when this started happening, I was in labor with her within 24 hours. So, I felt sure that it would probably be soon.

Nothing happened and the next weekend is when that horrible headache that put me out from Sept. 22nd - 27th. But, nothing really happened after more mucus plug, no contractions resembling labor, etc. So, we just waited...waited and walked and I was also using some herbs off and on for the last 3 weeks or so (for instance, using Evening Primrose Oil as a vag. supp.). At my 36 week appt. (on the 11th) I didn't have any dilation or anything. At my 37 week appt. I was 60% effaced, but still no dilation. I wasn't checked at my 38 week appt. because I had that horrible headache and such. I skipped my 39 week appt...I was fine and was just so ready to have a baby...I was 4 days away from my due date and just felt sure that I didn't need to go. :) I was supposed to go see my midwife again on Thursday, the 12th...6 days after my due date. But, fortunately, it happened on the morning of the 10th...I went into labor.

I had been losing more of my mucus plug over the weekend. On Tuesday at 2:15 AM I woke up and went to the bathroom. I had lots of bloody show. I went back to bed about 2:30 AM and contractions had started. They were about 3 minutes apart and I knew that this was it. I told Joel and he got up and got everything ready...finished filling the birth pool, etc. I was walking around through the house...during a contraction I would have to stop and lean against the wall and breathe through them. Around 3:30 we decided to go ahead and call the midwife to let her know what was happening. Around 4:15 the contractions got to the point of the need to moan through them (I found out with my last labor that I'm a really helps me to moan in a low voice through the hard contractions). Sylyna (my midwife) got to our house around 5 or so. Around 5:35 she checked me and I was 3 cm and 90% a -1 station. She checked me again at 7:20 and I was 4-5 cm. At 8:00 the kids woke up and left with a friend. The whole time I was in labor I was sipping water and going to the bathroom probably about every 30 minutes or so. At 8:50 I was checked again and was 6 cm, 100% effaced, and at a 0 station. At this point Sylyna told me that I could get into the birth pool (before this I had been relaxing, per the Bradley method, on the bed). We wanted to wait until just the right time to get in the pool...didn't want to do it too early as that will slow down labor instead of helping things. So, after I was checked at 8:50 I went to the bathroom and then got in the pool...probably about 9 AM. I probably had 1 or 2 contractions and then I started throwing up. With every heave I realized that amniotic fluid was shooting out of me. So, my water broke (although, I had been leaking since I started labor at 2:30). Anyhow, with the next contraction I felt the baby move completely down (it was a weird feeling) and I felt a huge urge to push. It was strange because with my other labors I had never actually felt that strong urge before. But, this was undeniable and I knew that I had that urge that everyone talked about. But, at the same time, I seriously doubted it because I had just been checked and was only 6 cm. I told my midwife that I had to push. She said just to listen to my body. It was 9:20. I asked her, "So, my cervix is out of the way?" She checked and said yes...that the head was just right there and I was complete. So, I started pushing then (at 9:20). At 9:28 the head was born and at 9:29 Asa was completely out and in my arms...all 9 lbs. 14 oz. and 22 1/2 inches of her. I went from 6-10 cm in 30 minutes and pushed for only 9 minutes. I was so happy...and shocked...we had thought I probably had at least 2-3 hours longer when I was only 6 cm at was a great blessing to be done already.

Another great blessing was that I hardly tore at all. With Grady I ended up tearing and having an episiotomy. With Hadley, no episiotomy (my midwife thankfully didn't do those), but I did tear. With Asa, I did tear, but not along my old episiotomy site and I only tore after the head was already out. Her little shoulders got stuck a little bit and when they were coming out I tore a bit on the side...but, only requiring 3 stitches. Amazing though...she's been my biggest baby by far (Grady was 9 lbs. 2 oz., Hadley was 8 lbs. 4 oz.)...and I don't think I would've torn at all if her shoulders wouldn't have gotten stuck. What a blessing, esp. compared to my history in that. So, it was just a great birth all the way around and we are so happy about that.

Also, this was interesting: even though she was due Oct. 6th and wasn't born until the 10th, she didn't show signs of being late at all. In fact, according to my midwife and Asa's appearance, it looked like she was more along the lines of a 39 week birth...Asa was born with a ton of vernix (that white cheesy stuff...babies born early usually have that more) and there were a few more things that made her look early rather than late (things which I'm not sure of enough to explain but that the midwife mentioned).

Asa is doing great by the way. I just clipped her fingernails (which I should've really done the day she was born...she came out with very long fingernails). Another great thing to praise God for ALOT is that my milk came in on Wednesday night. That is another thing that has been a struggle in the past...having enough milk supply. Although I've done nothing differently this time, I seem to have plenty of milk for Asa. Seriously...that is such a PRAISE GOD thing. We are just continuing to pray for this that it stays that way. We are thrilled that it is going so well.

Grady and Hadley continue to do great too...still loving their little sister. They still don't seem to be acting any differently or having any adverse reactions to a new little baby in the house. I think that they are just so busy with each other that a new little baby is just an extra toy or something. Every now and then they will ask about her or go over and lay their head down on her to give her a hug...they like to hold her too. We're all doing really well.

I am still not up and around or anything...spend most of my days on the couch or in the it should be. :) But, I'm getting more and more active and feeling better every day. Mama is still here too, which is a huge help. Thank God for Mama's. :) And of course Joel continues to be super-husband, so we're all very well taken care of.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


O.K., so here's the deal...we were so shocked that this baby is a girl. I had her in the birthing pool and couldn't really bring her up all the way to look at what sex she was because of the umbilical cord. I felt down there on the baby though and it was flat. I was like "What the heck?! Oh my gosh!" :) It was so funny. So fun though...I do love surprises.

Even though I never claimed to know for sure, with Grady I was 99% sure it was a boy...he is a boy. With Hadley, same thing. So funny that I was so shocked like that.

The good news is that at 12:45 PM on Wednesday...she is over 24 hours old...we FINALLY have a name. Are you ready? Drum roll please...


Yes, her name is Asa, the first A pronounced with a long "a" sound, the s pronounced with a strong "s" sound (like in sun, not a "z" sound). We are super excited and even though this name wasn't even on our name list for a girl, we love it and feel like it is definitely from the Lord. I'll write more on the name at another point. Rose, by the way, is a family name. Joel's mom's family is the only side of our families that hasn't been included in our children's names yet. It was their turn. So, even though I have an aunt named Rose also, and a great friend named Rose,...and Joel's sister's middle name is Rose, it really is after Joel's mom's sister, Rose. She is single and doesn't have kids of her own, so she has always been very special to Joel and his brothers and sisters. She even lived with them for a time in Brazil.

Anyhow, off to take care of Asa. And also, if you are interested in hearing about it, I will be posting the birth story in a few days too. It's a great story.

Oh, and one more thing...the kids are loving having a baby in the house. They don't seem to be acting any differently. Yesterday was fun. First of all, we've been preparing the kids for this time. We told them that when the baby decides to come, they were going to go over to Sarah's house and play and then Granny would pick them up and bring them over here. Yesterday morning, John (Graves...Sarah's dad) came over to get the kids. We woke them up and Grady saw him and immediately brightened, Joel told him he was going over to Sarah's house. Grady started asking Joel, "Baby?! Baby?!" He was so excited. It was fun...last night Mama came over from Louisiana and picked the kids up and brought them over here to our house. We had Asa back in our room. The kids came in looking for her and were also excited about Granny being here. We talked to the kids a little bit. I showed them my belly and how there wasn't a baby in there anymore. Grady said, "Baby come out?" I told him the baby came out. Joel brought the baby in and they were super excited, yelling "baby, baby" over and over. We got some great shots of can see the pictures on our website.

By the way, if you haven't gotten an email from me about it yet, you need to check that out...our website:

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Good Thing Is...

I can't be pregnant forever. Right?

Sunday, October 08, 2006


As I talk with different women of all ages, I am continually amazed at how little they know about their bodies. I am astonished at their lack of knowledge. Appalled really. I guess all those "a" words that mean shocked. Astounded...there's another one for you.

I like to know exactly what is going on with me and I am very in tune to my body and what is going on. Some would make the argument that it's because I'm a nurse and have had that training. But, not true. Nursing school and the kind of nursing I did when working didn't really teach me about normal, everyday happenings. For instance, having babies. I had an OB rotation of course, but I never worked in that arena of nursing. I am the kind of person that is very hands-on. If I don't experience it firsthand in some way, then I might learn the information for a time, but it doesn't always stick.

Anyhow, this applies across the board, but just in the example of pregnancy, labor/delivery, and postpartum stuff...many women (and men I might add) are just fearful. Why are they fearful? They haven't done much research. They only listen to and go along with everything their Dr. says. As I stated previously, I'm not against Dr.'s and am so grateful to have them when there is a problem. But, that's just it...most of the time there are no problems. Dr.'s are trained to be super-hyper to avoid/treat problems...some that really aren't even there...they are just afraid that they will come.

When I was pregnant with Grady, I was asked by a few people once how old the baby in my womb was. I said that since I was about 14 weeks along in my pregnancy, that would mean the baby was about 12 weeks old I guessed...since they count from the first day of the LMP...not from conception. They looked at me like I was crazy. Even the woman there (who has had 3 kids herself) said, "I've never heard of that." Crazy.

I guess it's just been on my mind lately. I've talked to several people lately who just don't know basic knowledge about such things...they get freaked out. It seems they try to get me freaked out (misery loves company), which really irritates me honestly. I refuse to join them.

Women out there (and men too)...learn. Read, ask people, grow. Obviously not just about this topic...about your own bodies and what you are experiencing medically (look into the alternative medicines/treatments as well as the conventional medical advice), about parenting, about health and exercise and good eating, about relationships, about all of the things of God, etc.

Don't just settle for past knowledge that may or may not be working. Don't just do things because it's the way they've always been done. We hope to always be learning and growing. There is a wealth of information about most anything conceivable out there. Thank God that the knowledge and wisdom is available, if from no other source than Him. He is the best source there is after all.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Big Belly

I thought I'd post a couple of pictures of my belly for your viewing pleasure. I am just in some funky exercise shorts and a shirt that of course doesn't cover my belly anymore (none of them do)...and I'm looking pretty rough, as usual these days. But, these were taken this morning right after I got up.

I had hoped to only gain 35-40 pounds this time. Oh well...we'll try next time. :) I've gained about 45 at the present, about what I gained with Hadley. The problem for me this time was all the travel. I gained 14 pounds in the one month that we were in Boston and Brazil. Since we've been back in E. Texas I've only gained 2-3 pounds.

I'm no good at eating good when I'm not at home. When I was growing up, when we traveled anywhere it was a treat and we always got the treat of eating out. And, even if we were at other people's house, it was a treat. I still look at it that way and am not disciplined when it comes to eating. I get a little crazy. It's fun, but when you are traveling over a month it's not good.

So, anyhow...we're at 45 pounds, but holding since we aren't traveling. :) Here are the pictures of what that looks like: (disclaimer...the first picture is totally very un-ladylike, but, at this point, I could care less...sorry if it offends) :)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Today's The Date

Yeah, today's the DUE DATE, that is. Is today the day the baby will be born? Looks like it's a no. I mean, technically we still have 4 1/2 more hours for that to happen, but it doesn't seem that that will happen.

It is very rare that people actually have their babies on the due dates anyway. According to an article I read, only about 5% of babies actually arrive on their due dates. I thought it would be fun to be part of that 5%, but oh well. :)

I've been walking every day and it's been really nice. It feels really good. I do a fast 30 minutes. There's one hill that almost does me in, but it still feels good. Today after I got back I immediately sat down to eat. After I ate I came over to the couch to type this up. I got up from the table and was walking a little funny. Joel told Grady to look...that I was walking like a Grandma. It was funny...I said, "Let's put a head in your pelvis and see how you walk." :) Pregnancy is so strange. Although I've done it all before, it is still just a weird thing. I mean, I truly am walking around with a head in my pelvis. It's just weird to think about. So cool though.

Anyhow, we are getting lots of stuff done and having a great time with the kids. As usual, we'll keep you posted.

Sweet Grady

I must have the sweetest little boy ever. I'm totally serious.

Last night we were on our way to church. I was the last one out of the house and I got into the van. Grady said with his big blue eyes sparkling and beaming and his dimples engaged full throttle, "You look pretty, Mama." He's said this to me before, but usually after he heard Joel say it or Joel has told them to say it. Of course I said "thank you, baby" and then promptly asked Joel if he had told him to say it. He said he hadn't...there had been no prior talk of such things. I was impressed with our sweet little boy and of course melted.

All of his teachers at church just go on and on about how he is such a joy. They just love him. It's really cool too because I've prayed this with each of my pregnancies/children...that they would just be a joy to everyone they come into contact with. I esp. consistently prayed it with Grady though (since I didn't have any other children at the time...had more time on my hands). Anyhow, last night, one of our friends, O.L., went to get the kids out of their classes for us. Grady is always super excited to show us what he's made in class and he also tells us the Bible verse they learned, but usually that part is only done after the prompting of the teacher as we pick him up. Last night after that part was done with O.L., Grady came into the sanctuary where we were and showed us all of his papers. O.L. was busy doing something else and after Grady showed us his papers he quickly said, "God keeps promises" with a huge smile on his face. I knew what he was doing of course. I was so proud. O.L. then turned to us and asked Grady if he wanted to tell us his Bible verse. It was so great that he had already done it on his own. So cute. The whole thing was actually "God always keeps His promises" but I was so glad and impressed that he had remembered it..."God keeps promises" is really all you need...that's the jist of it. So cute.

After that, Grady wanted some gum. Usually after church he gets some gum. That can also be attributed to O.L. He started that tradition at church. :) So, Joel gave Grady some and Grady kept saying something over and over. Both Joel and I were talking to different people and finally I listened really good to what Grady was saying and realized that he was saying, "Hadley wants some gum." He always looks out for his little sister like no other. It's really sweet. He's never shown any signs of jealousy or competition...he just always takes care of her. Not that they are perfect and never get into tiffs over toys and sharing and stuff. But, he really does look out for her.

Then this morning we were just hanging out here at the house and without any prompting at all he said, "I love you, Mama."

We sure do love our sweet Grady.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Romans 8

One of the best chapters in the Bible in my opinion. I was reading it this morning.

v. 24-25
For if you already have something, you don't need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don't have yet, we must wait patiently and confidently.

Those are some good verses for a pregnant lady about to pop, huh? :)

Since we are planning a natural home birth, which takes a lot of focus and concentration, it is necessary for me to stay in that mode. I don't mean that I am a walking birthing zombie, with that always on my mind and paralyzing me from doing anything else. But, I do have to stay "prayed up" so that fear and freakiness don't come my way. I must stay controlled by the Holy Spirit (and not my sin nature), so that there is life and peace (and I can remain calm and relaxed in all circumstances)...v. 6. Of course we should always be walking this way, but there are times in your life where you feel an urgency to really get in's a great thing. Life and peace...great things.

Our pastor talked about the spirit of adoption on Sunday. I think it was one of the best sermons I've ever heard. He talked about how the cure for any kind of fear, feeling of rejection, etc. is the spirit of adoption. It's not speaking to that fear or quoting scripture, etc. Those things totally work and are useful for sure. But, we shouldn't get caught up in trying to psyche ourselves up. The true root cure is knowing who you are in Christ (all in Romans 8) and living that out.

Everything is going fine here. Picture project is going great. I just finished putting all of my pictures from pre-school years - 6th grade into an album. That was a big chunk. Most of my other pictures are somewhat in chronological order, but that group I had to put in order. So, phew...that's all done.

Friday is my due date, so 2 more days. Hadley came 2 days before her due date, but no signs that this baby will. You'll know when it happens.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"I Go Walkin'"

Title of blog: Patsy Cline tune...Hadley and I were singing it yesterday when we were getting ready to go on our walk. She seems to be a Patsy fan.

I was supposed to go see my midwife yesterday afternoon. I didn't go. I will have to go next week if I haven't had the baby by then, but I just didn't see any need in going yesterday. I'm fine, baby's fine. I called my midwife to ask her if it was absolutely necessary that I come. She laughed at me, asked me a bunch of questions, and then said that I didn't have to come. So, with the little phone interview, the only thing not done was my weight, urine check, and blood pressure. Again, all of those things have been super perfect the whole need to think otherwise now. So, I saved myself over an hour trip and instead we went for a nice long walk.

We've been doing a good bit of walking these days. The area we are in is so pretty with great, very non-busy roads. It's fun. A couple of days ago Grady decided to ride his tricycle instead of riding in the wagon with Hadley. Here are a couple of great pictures of that little outing. Fun times.

The kids on the trail with Daddy.

Joel even rigged it so that Grady was pulling Hadley along. Grady loved it. And although Grady is a great driver, Hadley wasn't so sure about it at first.

We are keeping super busy with a few projects. Joel is getting everything in order and ready to join a sending agency (lots of paperwork and doing things like passport pictures, etc....there is a lot involved). He's also working on getting our website up and running. Also, he's been doing things around here that our hosts need done (landscaping stuff, helping to clean the pool, handyman stuff). I started a huge project yesterday...organizing and putting all of the pictures we own (my whole life basically...from elementary to present) in albums. So, between all of our projects and our kiddos, we've got at least a couple of full time jobs I'd say. How are we going to fit this new baby in? :) Just kidding. Still can't wait for the new baby to make its appearance. We'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Our New Niece

Last Friday (that is, Sept. 22nd), Joss Ebersole was born. She was 8 lbs. 6 oz., the same weight as her sister at birth, Alexa (who is 16 months old). She's really cute. And, it's really fun to have babies so close in age. Joss and our new little one will be only days/weeks apart. Hadley is only 3 months older than Alexa. Grady and Hadley had a SUPER time with Alexa when we were in Boston. We can't wait to meet little Joss.


Joss being held by Alexa. That is Kristin, their mom...Joel's brother Andre's wife.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

October Baby

Welp, looks like this is going to be an October baby. September is gone now and Mama doesn't plan to carry this big ole baby in her belly until November. :) As usual, we will keep you posted on the baby happenings.

Our kids are doing great of course. Hadley is really talking a good bit these days. Grady is REALLY talking alot...he just got done "reading" a book to Hadley. He's heard it so many times that he has it memorized. Hadley is infatuated with babies. They both are to a certain to rub my belly and kiss it and tell that baby to come out of there (I got them to do that part). But, anywhere we are, if Hadley spots a baby, she is blind to anything else. It's going to be fun to have a baby in the house.

I weighed them both a couple of days ago. Grady is 2 years and almost 9 months old. He weighs 36.5 pounds...he's a solid, strong, good-looking little boy. When he is on his knees, he and Hadley are the same height. :) Hadley weighs a whopping 23.5 pounds. She is 19 months old now. Grady was her weight when he was 9 months old. Isn't that funny? She's a tiny, but feisty little thing at times. So snuggly though.

Here is a great picture that Joel took of the kids the other day. Enjoy. Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Uncle Tucker and Hadley

...the dynamic acrobatic piano duo. :)

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Guest House

I am feeling the need to post every day, if only to say "no baby." I'm sure that if I don't post your assumption is that I might possibly be in labor or something, so I'll just try to post. And, you can be sure that after the baby comes, we will be posting an announcement that the baby is here. So, believe me, you won't be left out.

Here is a visual of where we are living now. We are staying in the cutest little guest house that you ever did see. There are 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, and a great open kitchen/living room area. Also, the outside here is super. We are in a little development in Kilgore, TX. But, we are also in a very quiet area with lots of woods all around us. It's super. So, the kids play outside all the time. Right to the left of our house in that fenced in place (see the first picture) is a great sandbox that Joel just restored...they've been busy in that all morning. There are also a couple of swingsets, a treehouse, a pool, and lots of open spaces and woods to explore in. And, the road we live down is great too...we take lots of walks. We love it here and are so thankful for the chance to live here and the generosity of our hosts. Oh, that's another plus...great neighbors. Our kids love to play together too (they have a 3 1/2 yr. old boy and a 6 yr. old girl who loves to "babysit"...they also have a 9 yr. old boy and 7 yr. old boy).

Anyhow, here you go...our wonderful little guest house:

The front of our cute little guest house.

As you walk in the front door, you see the kitchen area straight ahead. The kitchen and living room area is all one big room...we love it.

This is what you see if you look to the immediate left as you walk into the front door...the living room area.

The kids' room. The twin bed on the right, we dismantled and put the box spring on top of the top bunk and the mattress under the bottom bunk as a trundle to "catch kids" in case they fall. The kids both sleep on the bottom bunk. It's been a bit of a challenge since Hadley has always been either in a pack-n-play or a crib, but she's getting better about staying put. They both sleep horizontally in the bed...that is, with their pillows up against the left wall, their feet pointing out toward the trundle bed underneath.

The hallway leading to the bathroom on the left and the master bedroom at the end. The kids' room is there to the right.

The perfect size bathroom.

The master bedroom, which now has our king-size bed in it instead of this bed...this bed is propped up against the wall. It also has our spa-n-a-box in it...what we are using for our birth pool.

Keep us in your prayers and we will keep you posted.