Monday, November 18, 2013


After perusing through Keziah's baby pictures this week, there is no doubt that our 2 girls are related.  So I decided to have a little fun posting some comparison pictures of our look-alike daughters.





I had a little too much fun recreating this next pose, right down to the yellow receiving blanket.  (One might think I have a lot of time on my hands...).  Any guesses as to who's who??

Baby A:

Baby B:

I think these next pictures highlight their differences more than anything.  Keziah is much more blonde while Miriam is slightly darker, has longer eyelashes and fuller lips.



Despite the nearly 7 years that separate these two, they are most definitely sisters!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Giving Thanks

2 months have passed since Miriam Jane joined the family and we are well into the school year and the fall season...

Keeping up with this blog has become more of a challenge since she joined our family, but I was thinking the other day how often I look back at my old posts to remember when certain things happened and to be reminded of various stages of the kids growing up and I realized how valuable it has been and will continue to be if I can manage to keep it updated.  And in this digital day and age the blog has become a "scrapbook" of sorts for my kids to look back on one day.

Right now I type as I listen to my 11-lb, 2-month-old scream in her crib.  Long daytime naps have become a rare luxury around here.  I've grown accustomed to 20-30 minutes here and there and a lot of crying in between.  But, thank the Lord, she sleeps great at night.  From about 7 pm to 7 am she is in a solid sleep with only 2 quick feeds in between.  If that keeps up, I can survive the crazy days.

I've been meaning to post about how we chose Miriam's name, especially since a few people have asked, so here's the baby name scoop...

By now it's no secret that Erik and I are partial to Biblical names.  The names Micah, Keziah and Silas can all be found in the Bible.  But in this stage of life, the choice of baby names grows narrower and narrower as more and more of your family and friends and others in your social circle have their own kids and "use up" potential names.  It seemed as though all the preferable boy Bible names had already been snatched up by others, and there wasn't much left to choose from if this baby had been of the male gender.  Who knows... our child may have very well ended up with a name like Nahum or Jehoshaphat or Melchizedek simply in order for us to stay true to our genre :)

So, lucky for us, she turned out to be a she and we were able to use a name that we've kept coming back to for the past 9 years.  We had the name all picked out when we were pregnant the first time around.  If Micah had been a girl, the name would've been Miriam Keziah.  I wanted Keziah for a first name but Erik was still a little unsure about it, so we agreed on Miriam.  But, of course, it turned out to be a boy, so we had our Micah.  When I was pregnant the 2nd time, the name Keziah had grown on Erik so much that we opted to use it as a first name (Silas was our top boy name for that pregnancy).  Out came a little girl and we named her Keziah Katherine, using my mom's name as the middle name.  Then pregnancy #3 rolled around and Miriam was back on the table as our top girl name.  Of course, we didn't end up using it when it turned out to be a boy.  So, with the 4th and final pregnancy there was no question that we would use the name Miriam if it was a girl.  As soon as the ultrasound results were in, the name was set in stone.  We never once discussed boy names together and the kids immediately started referring to their baby sister by her first name.  Our intention was to keep it a secret from everyone else, but that didn't work out so well.  By the time Miriam was born, Erik's whole family knew the name as well as a few others who either guessed or overheard it from our chatty children :)

We chose the middle name Jane because we thought it was sweet and went nicely with the first name. Miriam means "wished-for child" and Jane (which is also a Hebrew name) means "gift from God".  Such appropriate meanings for this special little girl.  A year ago I wouldn't have believed that we would have another daughter in our family.

So we are feeling blessed!  There are so many things to be thankful for this year including a beautiful property to enjoy.  Life on the farm continues to be exciting.  We're currently waiting for about 30 hens that might inhabit our newly built chicken coop as soon as today.  We're also anticipating the birth of a new baby calf any day now...

(This is Bambi the heifer who is about 7 months old)

And construction on the house keeps moving forward, slowly but surely.  Some days it feels like it will never be complete but every day gets us nearer to the goal!

I am counting my blessings this fall season and feeling grateful for many things, least of which are these four little ones... :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bring On The Flood

It's about time for a little progress report on the house construction.  

Here's the last photo I shared back in July...

And here's a picture I took this past weekend:

The house has undergone some weather-proofing treatments - fancy construction terms like weather-stripping, tyvek and soffits got thrown around during this process.  All I see is white paper and stripes and new white stuff under the roof over-hangy things.

Ok, I'm not that bad with my construction terminology...

This picture shows off the new pot-lights, soffits and gutters as well as the new vinyl deck.

There seemed to be a lot of "outside" work happening and not enough "inside" work (in my opinion).  But the goal was to get the house weather-proof before the rain started.  And the rains have come.  So, inside work can now get underway!

The inside of the house is insulated and poly'd (the plastic sheets covering the walls) and tomorrow we will finally see the drywall go up!  

Having "real" walls will make this project seem that much closer to completion...

Saturday, September 07, 2013

New Beginnings

Nearly a month has passed since Miriam has joined our family... pregnancy and gestational diabetes and braxton hicks and 43-week giant bellies and major overdue-ness already seem like a distant memory.  If it wasn't for the last remnants of water retention that make my hands tingle and my shoes still a little snug, I would almost believe that we've had this new little one for many months already.

Now we are 4 weeks in, settling in as a family of 6 and I'm enjoying the feeling that our "quiver" is finally complete.

(10 days old)

After Miriam was born, the rest of August passed by in a blur.  A good blur - but a blur nonetheless.  We were blessed to have my mom here for 2 weeks after she was born and it allowed me to focus on feeding and sleeping and enjoying a cute and cuddly newborn.

The kids enjoyed having Granny around too - baking, puzzling, shopping, laughing at episodes of "I Love Lucy", and you-tubing funny animal videos on her ipad :)

We've also been so thankful for many different friends who have blessed us with meals and treats over these last weeks.  We've been well-fed and our freezer is stocked with some extras that we can pull out on the crazier days in the weeks to come.  And with gestational diabetes in my past and my insane nursing-mama hunger I have been appreciating the end of my diet restrictions.  I may or may not have enjoyed several of my friend's famous Skor cookies in one sitting...  (*sheepish grin*)  

The kids have adjusted quite well to having a baby in the house, but it still is an adjustment.  The evenings are generally Miriam's fussier time and in a small house the kids can hear her crying as they're trying to fall asleep.  The other night at about 9:30 Micah came out, all bleary-eyed, and suggested to me, "Why don't you try rocking her?"  (As if I hadn't already been pacing the living room, shushing and patting my brains out??  Thanks for the parenting advice, buddy... But please, go back to bed.)

Keziah loves her baby sister but has had the hardest time adjusting to how much time Mommy needs to spend with the baby.  It seems I'm always nursing her or rocking her or changing her when Keziah needs me.  But maybe it's because Keziah seems to need me a lot these days.  She's been a bit more over-dramatic and whiny in general and I'm trying to be patient as I remind myself of what she's probably experiencing through this huge change in our family.  

(Bath time - about 2 weeks old)

We've had several visits with our 2 midwives in the last 4 weeks and Miriam weighed 9 lbs 15 oz at her last visit (3.5 weeks old).  I loved my experience with the midwives at West Coast Health Collective.  It almost makes me wish we could do it all over again.


Miriam even gave her a little smirk for the picture :)

Speaking of smirks, Miriam has been offering us rare smiles for the last week or so.  I have yet to capture a good one on camera, but you know that once I do I'll be instagramming that baby :)  This morning after I fed her and she dozed back into dreamland, she actually smirked and chuckled.  I kid you not.  She has not laughed in real life yet, but apparently she laughs in her sleep.  Let's hope this is a hint of a happy kid in our future??

And just as we've gotten settled into a sort of loose routine, we've been thrown into the back-to-school craziness...

Since school ended in June I've been slightly anxious about how a new school year was going to go.  Micah had a really, really tough time at the beginning of Grade 2 last year.  Crying, running from his classroom, clinging to my body and fearing that I wouldn't come back for him at the end of the day.  It took almost all year to work through his fears and anxieties only to know that we would have to start all over again with a new teacher and a new classroom for Grade 3.  The first morning those familiar fears started to surface for him but we were able to talk through it and he went willingly into his classroom despite some tears.  The next few days were completely fine and on Friday afternoon he announced that he wished it wasn't the weekend because he wanted to go back to school. Let's just say we are feeling very thankful!

Silas gets a new beginning this year too as he goes to preschool 3 mornings a week.  Yesterday was an open-house for parents and kids to meet the teacher and see the classroom.  He was pumped!  When he got there he wanted to know where his desk was and was disappointed to realize that preschoolers don't  actually have their own desks...  He had actually brought his own "homework" from home and proceeded to work on it at the art table.

This kid is definitely a character.
 As always, Keziah was quietly excited about a new school year and seeing all her friends in Grade 2. All 3 kids have fantastic teachers and I'm feeling good about how this year is going to go.

The school mornings will be an adjustment with a new baby in the mix.  Miriam has added a whole new element to the morning routine.  Thankfully she sleeps quite well at night.  Last night was her best night yet - a 5 and a half hour stretch followed by another 3 and a half hours.  And most nights she eats quickly and goes straight back to sleep.  So I can forgive her brief naps and fussy evenings if our nights continue to go this way...

Now, if only I could figure out a way to bottle her newborn-ness and save it up for the years to come, I totally would...

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Miriam Jane: A Birth Story

It feels like we waited a long time for this little girl to make her appearance but now she's here and I'm finally on the other side.  

And Miriam Jane was worth the wait...  

So for those who are interested in the details, here is the play-by-play of my drug-free induction...

First of all, going overdue isn't something I would wish on anyone.  The first few days aren't so bad but when you hit 41 weeks and Babycenter sends you your weekly email with facts about your "1 week old" and you are still huge and hot and NOT in labour...  It gets old pretty quick.

I had been having increasingly frequent and strong Braxton Hicks and my brain was in overdrive, constantly analyzing each one, thinking in vain that "that last one might've been a little stronger" and foolishly timing them on my iphone contraction timer...  Then Saturday morning I woke up with some crampy contractions and signs of early labour and I thought 'this is the day!'  But dinner time rolled around and nothing more had happened all day.  I was emotionally spent and very much over my high hopes of going into labour on my own like I did with Silas.  So, I called the midwife and confirmed that we were on the induction schedule for the next morning - which was 10 days past my due date.

We got to the hospital around 9 am on Sunday and spent the next couple of hours hooked up to the monitors in triage, getting an IV (I was GBS+ and needed antibiotics), and getting settled into our room.  Here I am at 41 weeks, 3 days.  The size of my belly (which measured 43 weeks by the end) made sense afterwards - I was still swollen with my 9 lb baby, a giant placenta and extra fluids...

We opted to just go ahead and break my water since I was 2 cm dilated and my cervix was favourable.  When I was 9 days overdue with Keziah we did the same thing - I was 2 cm dilated with a soft cervix - and she was born just over an hour after my membranes were ruptured.  Yes, it was fast and intense... but it was also effective!  With Silas, after my membranes fully ruptured he was also born in about an hour (though I was already having contractions beforehand).  So, when the midwife broke my water at 11:15, I fully expected we would have a baby by early afternoon.  

But an hour passed by... we did some laps around the maternity ward (listening to other women in obvious labour), bounced on the birthing ball aaaand... nothing was happening.  A few contractions here and there but definitely nothing to write home about.  I was pretty surprised that I wasn't in full-blown labour considering my past experiences.  Our midwife told us that oxytocin was an option but we would need a nurse in the room to monitor it, and at that moment there wasn't a nurse to spare.  So, in its place she suggested I try using the electric breast pump - which is a natural way to get your body to produce oxytocin.  I was just sitting around anyway, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to try.  She had me pump for 15 minutes and then take a 1/2 hour break before pumping again.  Every time I pumped I would start getting contractions, but when the 1/2 break was up they fizzled out a little bit.  So, I kept at it; 15 minutes on, 30-45 minutes off for about 4 cycles.  Around 3 pm I started getting regular and increasingly painful contractions every 3-5 minutes.  And as I was pumping the 4th time, I didn't even make it through the 15 minutes before quitting because the contractions were getting so intense and I was ready to be in a more comfortable position.  Throughout this process the midwife was also giving me blue cohosh pills - a homeopathic remedy that is also supposed to help labour along.  So this may have helped, though I'm certain it was the pumping more than anything that finally put me into full-blown labour.  

At about 6 pm, after I had been in active labour for 3 hours, the midwife decided to check me and I was about 5 cm dilated, stretching to 7.  I figured we were in the homestretch - as I remembered with both Keziah and Silas, once I hit 5-7 cm they were born within the next 20 minutes or so and with just a few pushes.  I figured with this being baby #4, she should literally fall right out of me.  Right?  

Wrong.  I spent the next hour and a half in the most painful labour that I can ever remember having.  Micah's labour was a little longer but I'd had some pain meds in my IV to take the edge off.  And the hard part of labour went quite fast with both Keziah and Silas, so this time the transition phase felt like it lasted FOREVER.   It seemed like the pushing wasn't productive and she just wasn't coming down.  At one point they could see the head and then I could literally feel her crawling right back in.  The midwife commented that she really didn't seem to want to come out!  Finally after several more contractions her head was out and that's when they saw the cord wrapped around her neck.  Tight.  This was all unbeknownst to me as I had my eyes closed and was in my own world of pain, but Erik said they pressed the code alarm button.  Once the rest of her was body was out, they saw that her uber-long cord was wrapped around her neck once, under her armpit, around her back and through her legs.  They placed her on my tummy but she was blue and unresponsive and was quickly whisked away to the warming table where they worked on her for a very silent minute and a half before we finally heard her start to cry.  

What a relief...  To hear her crying and to know that the hard work was over.  Erik told me later that this was the most intense birth experience for him as well.  He hadn't remembered seeing me in so much pain in my other labours (which confirmed to me how bad it really was!) and the long moments of waiting for her to cry filled him with dread.  We're both sooo glad that part is over!

The midwife commented right away about her size and guessed that she might be over 10 lbs!  When the scale said 9 lbs 4 oz she actually re-weighed her just to double-check :)  

So the fact that she was my biggest baby and the fact that the cord had her so entangled may have been the reasons why it took me so long to push her out.  The midwife commented that, had this been my first delivery, it may have even ended in a c-section.  Not only was the baby big and the cord super long, but the midwife said my placenta was also unusually large.  So big that she also weighed it (almost a 3 pounder!).

Miriam Jane was born at 7:30 pm, and shortly after we called and texted the family to let them know the good news and invite them to come meet our newest member!  I had a chance to give her a nice long feed first which was important because of my gestational diabetes.  We wanted to avoid her having a blood sugar crash so she was able to get a few calories into her before the midwife tested her sugars (which she passed).

The family showed up around 9 pm and the kids got to meet their brand new baby sister.
(We took pictures mostly with our iphones that evening so the quality isn't fantastic.)

Oldest and youngest:

Sisters :)

Big brother for the first time!

Can you believe I have FOUR kids??

Erik stayed with me the first night in the hospital and it was NOT restful.  First it was hard to settle down to sleep because of the excitement of the evening, and when we finally got tired enough, Miriam decided it was time to be awake.  I don't know how many times I fed her that first night but it was a lot.  Erik took a turn trying to settle her but we both lost a lot of sleep and were pretty exhausted the next day.

Monday morning it was time to give Miriam her first bath.  I loved how she watched Erik so intently the whole time.

The midwife checked up on us and told us that we could feel free to leave the hospital at any time, but we ended up staying most of the day so that several friends could come and visit.  Miriam was spoiled with lots of presents and I was spoiled with lots of candy and chocolate - from all those who celebrated with me that my gestational diabetes was no more!

 Finally at around 4 pm we were all packed up and ready to head home.

The kids had been anxiously awaiting our return and proceeded to fight over who would get to hold their baby sister.

He's one excited big brother!

After our first night in the hospital, I was nervous for how night 2 would go at home.  But Miriam has done amazingly well each night - sleeping a 4-5 hour stretch, eating and then going back down for another few hours until morning.  I couldn't ask for anything more.  Though I hesitate to get too excited as I know babies are notorious for turning the tables on their mamas.

The experience of having a midwife versus a doctor was a really positive one.  She was with us throughout most of the labour (partly because it was an induction) and Erik and I both felt the sense of connection you feel with anyone who goes through a major life event with you.  She has also done regular home visits since Miriam was born.  Miriam has hovered around the 9 lb mark since coming home from the hospital and will get weighed again on Monday.  She's a little bit jaundiced but is feeding really well and all of her bodily functions are working as they should!

My mom's plane flew in the same day we got home from the hospital and I've been enjoying the cooking and cleaning that has been happening while I tend to my newborn - not to mention the meals that have been coming from friends.  What a blessing!

I feel quite in love with this little pink bundle and am soaking in every newborn moment...

How am I going to keep myself from spoiling her rotten??