29 February 2012

Of "Joseph Peter"

Anyone who knows us well could testify we do not name our children arbitrarily.  The decision is a difficult one for us and only ever comes about after much deliberation, discussion, research and prayer.  Thus, selecting a name for a gender-less child, as you might imagine, was extremely difficult for us.  This would be why I was sitting in our bed with my brand new son in my arms, an hour or so after he entered the world, looking at my husband and asking, "So?  What do you think?"

Of course we did not walk into his birth-date blindly, with no options even considered.  Joseph, in fact, was a name we had tossed around for a number of months (along with its counterpart, "Josephine," in the event of a girl - though Daddy had mostly vetoed that option, feeling it too formal for his tastes).  It was a name which had come to me during Sunday School, for no particular reason I can think of.  But when I considered the Old Testament character of Joseph, one who faced many hardships in his life and yet always trusted God's plan in his life, I knew it was a name to be considered.

This is how we come to our naming decisions - by asking ourselves the question, "What is God teaching us right now?"  For Emmett it was the idea that we were more than capable of raising a son, one whose success as a man would be found not in the power and strength promoted in our culture, but in the kindness and truth treasured by God.  For Micaiah, it was the reminder that there is no one more capable of directing our lives than God - our God who always provides and watches out for us in ways no one else can.  Our lesson throughout my entire pregnancy this time around was a full trust in God - even when it seems His plan is very different than what we would have chosen for ourselves - the same lesson lived through the life of the Biblical Joseph.

These are the things considered when the name first came to us.  However, as I sat to do a character study of this Old Testament Joseph, I searched my concordance for references to him and only then did I remember another Biblical Joseph - the husband of Mary.  And, so, my attentions were re-directed.

Having heard the Christmas story annually for my entire life, this was the first year I had ever truly considered the role of Joseph - or, rather, the faith of Joseph - throughout the process of our Redeemer being sent to earth.  Here was a man who, upon hearing of his betrothed's pregnancy, had planned to dismiss her quietly but, instead, was approached by an angel who informed him of the situation and encouraged him to stick around.  I had never before contemplated what great faith it required for Joseph to stand by a woman who was most likely still considered by those around him as unfaithful.  Yes, he had seen an angel, but the rest of those in his town had not - and they were probably still talking - about Mary, her condition, how she got in that condition and what it said of Joseph's character that the woman he was about to marry had been found pregnant.  To stay by her side in the face of such social opposition required true faith and trust in a plan that he would not have made for himself.

His faith was also evident shortly after the baby's birth when he again listened to an angel, this time through a dream, and fled to Egypt - not the next morning, after he'd time to think it through or hash out a plan with Mary, but immediately, in the middle of the night, taking his bride and brand new baby boy out into the desert to a new land, simply because he had dreamed it.  Talk about trust.

So, this is our son, Joseph - named for two Biblical pillars of faith - a reminder to us that we can always trust in the plan God has for us, even when it differs vastly from what we might have come up with on our own.

His middle name, Peter, which means "rock," comes from the life verse we chose for our son, based on the concepts above: "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.  Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock" [Psalm 26:3-4, emphasis added].

So, there you have it - Joseph Peter; these are the thoughts which brought us to settle on this name.  Though, truth be told, we considered many others along the way, but we always made our way back to Joseph, which, I believe, is exactly where God wanted us.

28 February 2012

Of Exceeding Expectations

At his two-week postpartum assessment by the midwives, they were impressed to see Joey has not only re-gained his birth weight, but has far surpassed it at 9lb 13oz (give or take a few ounces) - that's our boy, already exceeding expectations.  They were also in awe at his amazing gulping power; my kids have always known how to eat.

Joseph Peter - going above and beyond since 02/12/2012.

27 February 2012

Of My Boys

It may not have been so sweet that Micaiah had to be sent to her nap early for refusal to eat her lunch, but what was sweet were the moments that followed, when Joey curled up in my lap while Emmett climbed onto the couch next to me to watch "De-do" (that's toddler-speak for Diego).

Emmett chattered away, following all the commands given by the animated animal rescuer and occasionally leaned over to love on his brother, which consisted of laying his head on the Boppy next to Joey's tiny noggin.

After I announced it was time for a nap, Emmett began to climb down while I placed his brother on the cushion he had just been occupying.  Quickly, Emmett pulled himself back up just enough to kiss that sweet newborn head before saying "Night night."

One of the most precious half hours of the past couple of weeks.

 Giving kisses later, after nap-time.  He just kept running over to kiss his brother and then go about his business again.

Micaiah loved getting up close and personal with her littlest brother as well.

26 February 2012

Of His Third Sunday

Littlest Man celebrated his second week birthday by going to church for the first time today.  We discovered just how much he loves the sling.  From the moment he was snuggled in he was asleep - every time.

Partially thanks to the sling and, hopefully, partially because he's getting better at this concept, this guy did great with his schedule today - sleeping, eating, then staying awake for a bit before nodding off again.  Apparently, though, he only needs a solid meal about once every twelve hours.  Every feeding in between was a quick snack before he decided it was all he needed.  He's definitely the most interesting eater I've had thus far.

It's the sleeping, though, that makes me happy.

This was his first church outfit - nothing fancy, but at least he's wearing pants - that's what indicates it's his Sunday best.  Also, he wore the outfit ALL day - which is saying something for this guy.

He even got to stay up late to watch the Oscars.  What a day!

All those awards just tuckered him out, though, and he didn't quite make it to "Best Picture" - I'll fill him in in the morning.

25 February 2012

Of Nightmares

A week ago, the night before I was admitted to the ER for an allergic reaction, Philip and I were settling into bed when we heard a scream through the baby monitor (and through our door) - not the typical sound of a toddler crying out into the night, but a truly terrified scream, the likes of which we had never before heard in our home.

Concerned, we rushed across the hall, flipped on the light and found Micaiah sitting up, frightened, on her pillow, crying about a snake which had bit her.  As neither of us had seen a reptile slithering away, we were pretty confident it was a nightmare.  Philip examined her for signs of this alleged attack while he questioned her further.  Finding nothing and having finally calmed her, he was ready to pray over her and put her back to bed, but, first, he questioned gently, "There wasn't really a snake, was there?"

"No, but the dark made a snake."  Wise words from our very logical little girl.

Meanwhile, during the whole of this process, taking place in the brightness of their fully-lit room, mind you, I glanced to the other side of the room to see this:

Not even disturbed in the slightest by the entire ordeal, this little guy slept through everything.  Oh to be able to slumber so soundly.

The same little guy earlier today, playing hide-and-seek in the laundry basket:

What a crazy-fun boy we have.

24 February 2012

Of Parroting

Emmett adores his big sister.  This adoration is reflected in his constant emulation of her.

Last night at dinner, when the adults were brought sopapillas and she was very indignant with her lack of dessert, Micaiah demanded of our waitress, "Hey!  Where are our plates?!"  As we scolded our daughter for her rude attitude, we heard a little echo, complete with hands in a questioning gesture, "Where our play?"  The fact that he had no idea what he was asking was irrelevant to this little man.

Again, this morning, as Grandy swung the kids in the air, Micaiah demanded he swing her "higher than the sky" - which is a common request from our little dreamer.  Immediately following, Emmett ran to Grandy, hands in the air, crying, "I-er da ky!"

Someday he'll have a mind of his own, but for now his parroting is awfully cute.

Another aspect in which he has begun to take after his sister is in earning time-out through being a little too fussy for our tastes.

This evening, when he broke down while Daddy was working on dinner, Philip gave him the choice: stop crying or go to time-out (for the first time ever).  The little man toddled, as he always does when he has a destination, quickly to the front door, sitting carefully on the doormat (time-out is actually in the nearby corner, but I'm guessing he went to his default spot to which he is relegated when his sister is occupying the corner and he is keeping her company).  Philip informed him, "You can come out when you're done being sad."  Immediately, he turned off the water works, stood, and chased after Daddy.

However, he was soon crying once more, and was given the option once more.  And once more he toddled to the doormat without an argument.  This process repeated a couple of times before he began sending himself to time-out.  He would begin crying, realize what he was doing and run to the front door to sit it out, without even waiting for the option.  It was one of those moments where Mommy could not conceal the giggles.  A self-disciplining little man who isn't afraid to let his emotion flow - how adorable.

During one of his Time-Out visits: So sad, but so cute.

A couple more photos, just because I can:

I was trying to keep Joey awake after his feeding and, as usual, he wasn't having it.  Instead, he simply flopped back, content to sleep in any position he could get.

Our little guy has incredible neck muscles.

23 February 2012

Of Her Brilliance

Philip introduced Micaiah to "I Spy" tonight - a completely new game to her, but she took to it quickly and loved it.  Though she apparently tended to choose a color and then decide, as her dad tried to find what she spied, which thing he chose that would actually be the winning object, rather than the other way around.

Her brilliance shone, though, when it was her turn to find the "spied" item.

During the fifth or sixth round, Philip announced, "I spy something brown."

"Um, my eyes?"

Seriously?!  Like I said, brilliant.

So brilliant, in fact, we've already allowed her to begin her practice as a doctor.  Or, rather, she decided on her own as she chose to examine her newest brother.  First she checked his heart.

Then she gave him a shot (in the leg, the only part I felt comfortable with her possibly poking a little too hard).

Then, with excellent bedside manner, she assured her patient, "You're all better, Joey!"  We didn't even know he'd been sick - she is so on top of things.

22 February 2012

Of Bookworms

Our home is filled with bookworms.  It is absolutely necessary to allow our older kids to take turns picking a bedtime story each night, because it is quite the privilege.  They will also spend entire mornings bringing books for reading, if we let them (though, to be truthful, we sometimes limit reading time - or at least multiple renditions of the same volume - for our own sanity).  Today was one of these days, with repeatedly hearing Emmett announce, "Ano-er one!" as he continually crawled off the couch and climbed back up with yet another book - sometimes a board book, sometimes a story book and sometimes books about animals - he doesn't care.  If it has words, you need to read it to him.

Love these smart kids.

Today's Reading Moments:

With Gram. . .

Using the LeapPad with Grandy . . .

With Daddy . . .

21 February 2012

Of Traumatic Moments

Our Little Man was circumcised this morning.  It was a rough time for Mommy, sitting in an empty exam room hearing my baby boy screaming down the hall.  It's enough to make a Momma question a decision on such a controversial topic.  In the end, we're sticking by our decision (not that it matters much at this point), but it still made for a traumatic morning for both Mother and Son.

The evening was much better:

Emmett was checking Joey out - or maybe they were checking each other out . . .

Joey's first Jemima picture, so we can watch him grow.  One week old (he now weighs 9lb. 9oz. and is 21 in. long).

We never took Micaiah's three-year Jemima picture, so here she is:

Our babies.

Grandma and Joey hanging out.

May I?

What a sweet big brother.

20 February 2012

Of Today's Little Things

- I wore real clothes today for the first time in over a week.  Perusing my clothing, not finding myself limited to the small handful of tops which will appropriately cover a belly which has been growing a human being for nine months (or longer), it felt as though my closet had suddenly expanded.

- I keep forgetting to mention Littlest Man lost his umbilical cord on Saturday evening, just shy of one week old.  He's growing just too darn fast.

- After having two babies that look so much like their Daddy, it makes me a little happy inside that Joseph has my ears at least.  Or, rather, my giant lobes - the elfin points, I'm not quite sure where those came from.

 - I spent an hour today with a tiny baby resting in my lap while his grandparents played hide-and-seek with his elder siblings.  It was precious to hear.

- Being that he had started on bottles much earlier than I had previously planned, Philip and I took advantage of this unexpected ability for independence and sneaked out for a date night, leaving behind our precious newborn son and a bottle of carefully pumped milk (no more formula for him!).  Presently curled up on Grandma's chest, he doesn't seem to have minded.

- Having spent the last week dividing and conquering, Philip entertaining the big kids while I nourished and kept company our newest addition, an evening alone, where we could finally come together once again, was quite refreshing.

- Joey has been getting some good Grandma-bonding time today - she keeps finding herself with the enviable job of keeping him awake post-feeding.

19 February 2012

Of Hospital Visits

After all the attempts to avoid visiting the hospital for Joey's birth, there I was, one week later, IV in arm, blood pressure cuff bloating itself every fifteen minutes or so, telling myself I'm SO glad I didn't have to do all of this during the birthing process.

This time, instead, it was for an allergic reaction to a medication - one I had woken up the morning before so sure would cure my misery of the past couple of days.  Instead, it brought me here, to the ER, where I had to have further drugs infused in my system, drugs that would make it risky for me to feed my newborn son for the next 24 hours.

We would have to feed a child formula for the very first time.  I felt like a failure.  Feeding times are precious to me and now my son had to have chemically-formulated nourishment from a rubber nipple.  Though not a tragedy by any means, it was too much for this currently-hormonally-imbalanced and definitely exhausted momma; I broke down into tears, right there in the emergency room.

And, yet, here we are, the next day, when I'm getting rest to make up for the lost sleep from our second Sunday in a row of waking too early to accommodate for the needs of my body.  This one, to be sure, ended with much less joy than the previous week, but we are all still here and healthy, and that, to be sure, is something for which to be very grateful.

Photos of the Day: This is how Little Man slept for nearly three hours today - apparently our early-morning escapades exhausted him, as well.

Just for kicks: Micaiah snuggled with Daddy a little after dinner, wearing the hat in which Emmett typically parades around.

One advantage to formula feeding for a day: sharing the joy of feeding with others.

18 February 2012

Of Choosing Sleep

Our newest little boy is so spoiled.

When laid to rest in his precious cradle placed next to Momma's bed, he'll sleep, at most for 45 minutes before waking unhappy.  If he's laid in there while still awake, he will not fall asleep at all.

But rest him in the crook of Mommy or Daddy's arm, he'll fall right to sleep - and stay this way for a couple of hours.  Even on the couch or alone on the softness of the large king bed equals a nice long nap.

Apparently the cradle just does not feature the same spacious or warm characteristics of his other sleeping locales.  And, so, in favor of sleep for all, Little Man finds himself nestled through the night right where he longs to be - in our arms.  Someday we'll break him of the habit - but for now, sleep wins.

This is my favorite "newborn" boy shirt we own - he won't get to wear it for very long, so I had to document it while I could:

Grandma and Grandpa finally get to meet Joey!

17 February 2012

Of Cherishing the Moments

It's still hard to believe, as I hold his tiny body against mine that last week at this time he was curled up inside of me.  This same little man whose soft head nuzzles so perfectly against my chest, the same head I can't help but stroke so as to savor the downy feel, was the same little man, the same little head, nuzzling within me last week.   These spastic movements of arms and legs were the bumps and pokes I felt as he squirmed in my womb.

This is insanity.

What a miracle.

And though this is my third of these rodeos, it seems I'm really feeling it all for the first time.  Or, rather, this is the first I am allowing myself to feel it.

God took the time to teach me this valuable lesson just after Emmett was born, when I spent the time I had with my son feeding him, and nothing more.  As soon as he was done, he was passed to whomever was visiting at the time, eager to hold the new baby; and if no one was around, he was rested on the couch to nap the day away while I stole those precious between-feedings minutes to do the dishes, fold the laundry, catch up on e-mail or perform whatever other mundane task felt so pressing at the moment.

If you read my blogs from those days, you'll see a pattern.  A pattern of my trying to teach myself to slow down, take in the moments, savor my son.

I feel I finally learned the lesson.

Every moment with my tiniest one is precious.  These days when he wants nothing more than to curl into my chest are so limited.  The softness of his "old-man hair" (it's what I call the covering which is so sparse on top and yet so thick along the back of his scalp) will only last for such a short time before it starts to grow in.  The soft pursing of his lips as he sleeps or the involuntary smiles while he dreams, these are all features that become more difficult to notice as he will begin to spend more of his days alert and less of them falling asleep wherever is convenient (ie, wherever he is).

So, I'm cherishing these days - while I also continue to cherish those moments when our middle son dashes into the bedroom to say, "Hi, Mommy!  Hi, Be-be!" before flashing me his signature grin and scurrying back out; or those moment when our daughter, with her hair longer and curlier than I ever seemed to have noticed before, wanders in, eyes dancing with delight to see Mommy and Joey, shrugging her shoulders shyly as she eyes her new brother and declares softly, "He's so cute."

All of my children are precious and I pray my eyes will continue to stay open to the wonder of these moments.

Photos to Capture the Day: 

I was trying to capture Micaiah kissing her brother - I clicked the button as her lips were making contact, but she was too quick and when I looked to see what the camera caught, this is what I saw.  I love her.

I keep trying to capture his adorable-ness on camera and, yet, he doesn't seem to be very photogenic.  This is the best I've got - while cute, I can assure you, he's about 100 times cuter in person.

Daddy likes moments with his little boy, too.

Of Granting a Reprieve

I woke up this morning feeling not-at-all well.  On top of residual discomfort from having recently shoved a human being from my body (and, apparently, having pushed myself too far by putting away leftovers last night), I was now experiencing flu-like symptoms on top of it all.  A day in bed was definitely going to need to happen.  And, of course, my husband, who has been home all week to care for the needs of myself and our three little ones would have to continue in his duties as Mr. Mom.

This role reversal has taken a very evident toll on my man.  The constant demands of two kids who are learning to express their wants and needs, topped with a wife who can do little more than make the brief trip between the bed and the bathroom, and the newest little one who, while mostly sleeping, still needs diaper changes (just like his older siblings) and, at times, a reminder that it's time to sleep again, can definitely drain a man's sanity (oh, who am I kidding?  Just caring for the two older ones drains my sanity at least once a week).

Thus, by the end of day three on solo duty (we were very fortunate to have been blessed with caretakers for our other two for the duration of the first two days of Joey's life), my man was not sounding the patient and fun-loving Daddy I know he can be.  Not at all.

And being that I have missed my babies by being confined to bed-rest, I suggested Micaiah pick a movie for the evening and snuggle in Mommy and Daddy's bed to watch - one of her most favorite activities (if not for the rareness).  Thus, I spent my evening snuggled in next to a dozing infant with my three year old sucking her fingers and watching Alice in Wonderland, while our middle child (we have a middle child!) plunked away on the iPad - and Daddy enjoyed such much-needed alone-time in the living room.

Definitely not a bad way to spend a couple of hours, I can guarantee you that.

 The brief moment before Emmett decided watching a movie was too boring.  

 What I got to spend my day staring at.  Best day ever.

After deciding the movie was too boring.  Our kids are too technologically advanced for our own good.