Monday, August 30, 2010

Back in the Land of the Living

Whew! It's good to be back. I was more or less sick all last week and (obviously) blogging was one of the many things that simply did not happen. ;-) I'm glad it was me, though, and not the children!

Alaina is talking away with new words added almost daily. She is starting to make appropriate comments on her own, saying "thank you" and "good job". Stephen is a little darling! So far, he's had enough awake time during the days to pretty much eat and go back to sleep at night. A couple of times he has even given me four hours of sleep in a row! I'm so grateful for all these little blessings.

Kyle is my hero! Whether it's getting the kids rolling in the morning so I can sleep in, taking the evening shift, stopping at the grocery store or taking Alaina on errands with him, he does so many things to make life easier for me. I can't say how much I appreciate his help!

We've also had some sumptuous meals from the kind ladies at church and some help from a certain Miss Sarah that have made this little rough spell much easier. I am reminded again how much I need the body of Christ.

Let's see, what other tidbits of news do we have from around here?

-Uncle Andrew came down for a visit. Great fun!

-The mice are gone, so now we're feuding with spiders of various sizes.

-Our air conditioner is broken. I'm glad we put in a new one by the bedrooms!

-Kyle has made all sorts of delicious things, Berry Crisps, Applesauce and Blackberry Currant Jam.

- Alaina's recommended summer reading: King Bidgood's in the Bathtub.

More later. Time for lunch!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The New Arrivals

We have some new inhabitants here at Nitchfield who have yet to make a blog appearance. They now wish to be introduced. Meet:



and Mudge.

Milo and Macy are brothers given to us by some friends. A day or so after they came, Mudge showed up at our neighbor's house and was relocated here. They are all very friendly, and have learned to get along after some initial hissing. ;-) We're hoping that they'll help decrease the surplus (mouse) population.

Alaina loves the cats, and calls them all Mudge. She's had great fun petting and playing with them (here, with avuncular supervision).

Other pleasures for our little girl have been playing with some new toys given by kind friends and relatives. It's nice to have something exciting to look at while Mom is busy with the baby.

Look, we match! (An accident, of course.)

As for Stephen, he is growing like a weed and sweetly doing all those things which are the standard skills of truly accomplished babies:

Breathing and Vocal Exercises,

Mess Making,

Relaxation and Meditation,

and adding to the General Cuteness of the World.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Meditations: A Dynamic Man

(With some pictures of the kiddos, of course!)

What do most of us remember about Stephen in the Bible? Well, he was the first martyr, and he knew Paul . . . sort of. A few months ago I thought it would be a good idea to go back and review a little bit about the Biblical Stephen, since we'd picked his name to give to our little boy. I'm so glad I did! This amazing man is only around for two chapters, but he bursts off the page like a leftover 4th of July firecracker! Here's a little bit of what I found out about my newest Biblical Hero from Acts 6-7.

There are some things the Bible tells us about Stephen directly:

- He ministered to the practical needs of widows (6:1-5)
- He was full of faith and the Holy Spirit (6:5)
- He was full of grace and power, and he did great wonders and signs (6:8)
- His powerful relationship with God was such that it shone through his countenance (6:15)
- (I love this one!) His enemies couldn't cope with the wisdom and Spirit by which he spoke! (6:10)

How's that for an impressive resume! I'd be thrilled if only some of those things would be an accurate description of my life. But there's more! As you re-read and think through what's written, there are some other things that become apparent about this man.

- He was Forgiving.
Although he suffered a terrible death on the testimony of liars, you see no hint of bitterness or resentment from Stephen. Instead, his last words are a forgiving prayer for his enemies. His prayer was certainly answered in the life of Paul!

- He was Bold.
After answering the charges of his enemies, he didn't mince words! The truth that he spoke cut his hearers to the heart (7:54). Nor was he afraid to relate the vision that God gave him, even though it was the last thing the council wanted to hear.

The little mommy with her baby.

- He was Humble.
We're told that Stephen performed signs and wonders in the sight of the people. But what was the main ministry that he accepted? Serving tables for elderly widows. He never allowed himself to get puffed up and was willing to serve God in whatever needed to be done.

- He was Diligent.
This guy had memorized a lot of scripture (7:3-53)! He knew his Biblical history and also had an obvious value for the Word of God.

- He was Faithful.
All the way to the end. That's something I aspire to in myself, as well as pray for in my children. And while I'd rather not see any of my loved ones martyred, we all have plenty of opportunities to die to ourselves everyday. May we be as faithful!

I've been challenged and inspired by this amazing and godly man from so many years ago. I hope our little Stephen will be inspired too . . . at least someday.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More of My Helpers (Second Shift)

I'm so thankful for all those who are helping us get through these early days!

Dad: Grandchild Entertainer

Matthew: Avuncular Distractions and Creative Player

Mom: General Household Management, Expert Baby Wake-er

Alaina: Garbage Disposal and Excellent Baby-Kisser

Monday, August 9, 2010

Some of My Helpers

Becca: Household Management, Child Care and Book Reader Extraordinaire

Tim: Livestock Supervisor

Tim, Elli (Chef and Garden Produce Preservation Department), Becca and Kyle

Haley: Aunt of All Work

Friday, August 6, 2010

Stephen's Story

Sunday, August first, was a busy day. We had dinner with my Uncle Tom, Aunt Karilyn and the cousins as they traveled back from a family trip. We'd asked Becca, Elli and Tim to come stay for a couple of days. We'd planned for a little visit (before the baby came, of course) so we could catch up, play games, make yummy food, and generally have fun. Little did we know that a change of agenda was in the works!

Nine-thirty pm. After putting Alaina to bed and visiting for a little while, we settled down for a game of Five Crowns. I started feeling "a bit off" and thought I'd better drink some water to stay hydrated. Then I thought I'd better lay down a bit, and the game moved into the living room around the recliner. That lasted for a round or two until I started to get the idea that this was more than a few simple Braxton Hicks contractions. Needless to say, that ended the game. (Kyle and Tim claim victory, the girls claim suspension.)

Eleven-thirty pm. Why does it always take us so long to get out of the house? With Alaina and the livestock in excellent hands, Kyle and I started the hour long trek to the hospital. Every route there is under construction, so we opted for one of the back highways instead of the interstate. Sure enough, at that time of night the roads were clear and open. Our only concern was the one set of train tracks, where trains are notorious for stopping across the road to change personnel. We breathed a sigh of relief as we cleared the tracks, then Kyle looked in the looked in the rear view mirror. "Uh, Honey," he said, "the lights just went on. If we had been a minute later we would have hit the train!" Thank you, Lord, for the way things timed out!

Twelve-thirtyish. We got settled into our hospital room. Sure enough, we were ready to deliver and after a half an hour, Stephen arrived! Labor this time was definitely more intense, but recovery has been much easier and I'm feeling really good.

Although things worked out much differently than we expected, we're so grateful for God's timing! Kyle was home instead of far away on a job, with the cousins there we were able to leave right away, and Alaina received excellent care from people she had already had time to get used to. And I can't say what a huge blessing it was to come home to a spotless house with a delicious meal all ready to eat! (Thank you again! I still wish we'd gotten more time to catch up though . . .)


We're so grateful for the care of our family and friends, for a safe delivery, and most of all for our sweet little guy! Off to do some snuggling. ;-)

P.S. A word on pronunciation. Alaina calls her brother "Deedoo", but the rest of us say his name like "Steven".

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Our New Arrival

Stephen Christopher!

Our little boy surprised us all by arriving ten days early after three and a half hours of labor!

August 2nd, 2010 at 1:00am

Our little peanut is just
7 lbs. and 18 inches tall.

He seems so tiny!

Stephen means "Crowned".

Christopher means "Christ-bearer".

He's sleeping and eating wonderfully, and hasn't fussed all that much yet. He is very strong and so alert! He'll be up looking around for an hour at a time, just taking it all in! Alaina is being very sweet with him, and loves to kiss his head.

We are rejoicing in the safe arrival of our newest treasure. God has done all things well!