It has been a long time, Friends. A crazy, and wonderful, difficult and rewarding time. Since moving in September (can it really only be 5 months ago?) we have experienced 2 new seasons for the majority of the family, REALLY begun our home education adventure in earnest, traveled to North Carolina, Georgia, and New Jersey in three separate road trips, ministered to my dying grandmother who passed away in November, found an amazing little church that we absolutely love, enjoyed countless hikes and picnics together as a family, hid together in our tiny laundry room for two hours when the tornado sirens were screaming one Saturday evening, and I could go on. It has been quite an adventure, to say the least!
A few days before Christmas James got really sick. Then I got it, and then JoyAnna. Lydia had a touch of it for only a day or so. Josh never got it. He credited his "manly immune system". I never got rid of it, and then finally after 6 weeks or so I came down with a wicked stomach virus. Lets just say it was ugly. Then JoyAnna threw up and we thought she would have it like I did, but thankfully she was fine after that. A week later James had stomach cramps and threw up like something from a horror film. Josh and I were up for two hours in the middle of the night scrubbing and sanitizing our bathroom that night. Poor kid.
By the way, did I mention that I am now 7 months pregnant? And it is a boy!! This pregnancy has been the best compared to the other three. Although I am having some of the worst pains ever. My doctor says its round ligament pain. So with that, and all of the illnesses, it has been such a struggle to simply get the day to day routine things done. Some days it's been all I could do just to feed the kids and work on our lessons. Other days it is a success if I can catch the laundry up. It's a real victory if I bake a loaf of bread...in my machine...and have a hot dinner with meat, veggies and a grain or potato dish and there is minimal mess on the floor. There are so many other things that I am hoping to get around to...phone calls, letters, cards, organizing closets, craft projects, etc. but I just haven't been able to get caught up with the more important things. So those things just get pushed aside. I Think this is just the way this particular season of our life is going to look like. And I am learning to be content with that. These early years with my children are flying by, and how much quicker they will go once the baby comes. I am not sorry to have to set aside those other things in order to love and disciple my precious little ones. So if you are reading this and wondering if our family has fallen off the face of the earth, be assured that we have not. I will call, write or visit as I can.
James is very enthusiastically looking forward to the day his little brother comes to live in his room. I wish we could have videotaped his reaction during the ultrasound when we found out. The sweet ultrasound technician said that it was a boy, and several LONG seconds later James looked at me and said, "Wait. Did she just say we are having a boy?" When I confirmed it, his whole little face lit up and he said, "I'm going to have a baby brother!?...he's going to sleep in my room, right!?" And ever since then he has been on cloud 9. Lydia randomly comes up to me, lifts up my shirt, nuzzles her face against my belly and says, " Awww! Baby brother!" Usually while petting my belly button. She asks at least twice in every hour, "Baby belly?", which is to say, "Is that baby still in your belly?" And often walks around, sticking her belly out, rubbing it and saying, "Baby belly." Which, then, is to say,"I have a baby in my belly, too!" And JoyAnna is very excited to have another baby to love on. She is old enough for this one that it will be like having a real, live doll to take care of. I am really looking forward to teaching her how to care for and nurture a baby. She will really be able to begin to get it now.
No...we do not have a name picked out yet. :)
We are praying and searching for a used minivan. We will definitely need something larger than our faithful Honda Accord to tote our growing family around town, 5 seats will not cut it any longer. I just don't understand why they are so expensive. I suggested to Josh that we simply invest in a team of oxen and a carriage. At least you can eat them when they are too old to cart you around anymore, and before that you can breed them to get a backup pair. No tax, no title, no registration...
We are preparing to celebrate James' 6th birthday on Saturday. This one is a big deal to our family. The way we see it, we essentially have 18 years to train, disciple and develop meaningful relationships with our children before they are ready to leave home. Six years old means that one third of our time with James has already passed. So for this birthday we wanted to do something very special. We bought him a new bike because he has definitely outgrown his last one. We have also bought him his very own hiking stick, compass, and outdoorsman vest. We plan to teach him different skills, and when he has completed each activity we will award him with a badge, like in boy scouts, that we will pin on his vest. (We will do the same with the girls, but with a different focus) He will also have badges from trails he has hiked pinned to it. If the weather is. Ice, Josh plans to take him in his first overnight backpacking trip as a sort of rite of passage.
In the middle of next week we will be driving back to Florida for a business conference Josh's company in hosting. They have actually rented SeaWorld! Josh's parents plan to drive up to Orlando to pick up the children and bring them home while Josh and I attend the conference. Then we will head down to meet them at home and spend the rest of the week visiting with friends and family. I really am looking forward to it, all except the actual traveling. When will someone successfully invent teleportation?
Nap time is now over, and I am sure I am just about at my data usage limit anyway. We do not have internet or phone, just a tablet Josh uses for work and I get to use the leftover data. And my Tracfone. Which has worked fine for us since we have moved. Off to practice counting coins with James and JoyAnna. :)