Sunday, July 31, 2011

Welcome Annesley Kate!

So obviously a lot has happened since my last post. We had a very busy Spring and Summer preparing for our sweet baby's arrival. We were very blessed to welcome our little lady:

Annesley Kate
June 22nd 11:52pm
7 lbs 14 oz 21 inches

Our sweet one arrived 2 and a half weeks early so we weren't quite ready for her arrival. Dad had been out of state with work all week and Mom was busy doing a major clean sweep with Grandmother and Aunt Emily to prepare the house for a new baby. Well I guess Annesley wanted to come and see just how clean the house really was because that night I started to have contractions. I was up through the night with a dull ache in my back so early the next morning I called the doctor to ask what back labor felt like. He said since it was #5 he'd feel better if I went into the hospital to get checked out. So we threw some things in a bag really quick and headed to the hospital with all intentions of coming home after the nurses reassured I wasn't in labor.

Well to our VERY big surprise I was having contractions and showing some progress towards delivery. I just couldn't believe it! I thought for sure it was just a false alarm! It wasn't until they broke my water much later in the day that I was like...we are really having this baby today! The whole thing that day just seemed so surreal since I never thought I'd be going into labor at 37 1/2 weeks. I have head early labor with the last 3 kids but Annesleys pregnancy had the least amount of early labor so I thought we were in the clear for an early delivery.

The labor was a very slow progression but I generally go into the hospital further progressed than I did this time so I was at the hospital through all the slow early labor. The laboring was pretty smooth and uneventful all day. My mom, Nathan's mom, and his grandmother were all in the room to see the little one make her appearance. The first thing we thought when we saw Miss Annesley was look at all that's RED??? I never thought I'd have a read head! Aunt Emily says its a strawberry brown, but in the natural light it just glows red. Who would have thought??

Shortly after she was born she started coughing and gaging a bit. The nurses said that she might have just had a bit of fluid in her lungs from delivery and they worked on suctioning it out. After several minutes they began to realize that she was struggling quite a bit with her breathing as well. They decided to take her down to the nursery to have the doctor check her out for a bit. He said she was struggling to get the carbon dioxide out because she was panting so much and it looked to be from premature lungs. He said they would do some tests and monitor her for a while to see if she could get her breathing under control by herself or not. After several hours she still had not relaxed her breathing she he said she needed to be sent by life flight to Akron Children's Hospital.
Nathan went ahead and left for the hospital so he could be there when she got to Akron. I had to spend the night at the hospital but life flight was so amazing that after they had her intibated and hooked up to all her monitors they wheeled her entire cot, isolet, and all into my room so I could see her before she left. They were so wonderful to answer all my questions. They said they gave her a dose of artificial cerfactin and that with premature lungs sometimes they don't produce the "oil" needed to keep the lungs form sticking together. When the lungs stick together they have to work extra hard for each breath and can wear out after a while. This dose of medicine that gave her would open up her lungs and give them the lubricant they needed. They said they would give her one more does in Akron and that should fix the problem.

The next morning my doctor released me to go and Alicia took me up to see the baby. My best friend form college had jumped on a plane as soon as she heard I was in labor and came to be with me. She missed the delivery by a couple of hours but was there for the whole next week. It was definitely a God thing that she came because He knew how much she would be needed while we were at the NICU. She stayed there with me and Nathan all week and just sat by Annesley's bedside with me. She was an encouragement as well as someone to sit and chat with during that stressful time. What a blessing she was!!

When I reached the NICU the baby still had her ventilator in, but she looked so much more at peace and was not struggling to breath. She ended up having her intibation tube removed the next day and was able to just have a little tube in her nose that forced air in instead. She also was on several monitors and had a feeding tube and IV. Once they began to wean her onto room air she also needed to go under the blue lights for her biliruben levels for a few days. Because of that we could only get her out for a couple of times each day. They started by having me do "skin-to-skin" holding with her. Basically we were chest to chest with a blanket wrapped around us. It was amazing how much she calmed her breathing down and relaxed while I was holding her. Simply so sweet.

After her breathing issues were under control and she was off the blue lights she still needed to get nursing figured out. They were worried about her figuring out how to suck, swallow, and breath all at the same time since she had just gotten her breathing regulated. They wanted to slowly introduce nursing to her..however Annesley had a different game plan. She latched on the very first time and went to town with feeding! No slow process for her! She was ready to go!

We ended up spending a total of 7 days in the NICU at Akron. The staff there was just simply amazing at not only their level of care for Annesley but also just how wonderful they were to work with. They did a supreme job of taking care of our entire family.

The kids were able to come up to visit the baby twice but never saw her out of the isolet. When they came to visit all the girls were excited and had a million questions. Caroline seemed the most interested in her. She put her little face up to the arm whole in the bed and started singing to the baby. So sweet! She kept telling everyone her sister was in a special box. She was like "how do they get her out?" She thought the baby was stuck in there! Elijah had no clue that this baby was ours. I said "Look Elijah our baby!" He looked around at all the other baby beds in there and was like "Baby! Baby! Baby!" pointing to each bed. He missed the concept! Afterwards he was more concerned with playing with her bed than he was with his new sister?

We had Annesley at our family doctor 2 days after coming home from the NICU and he said she looked perfect! What a true blessing from God! Just like our doctor said, she had a rough start but is doing just fine now. Praise God!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Reflections on How We've Changed and What's Important

So I just spent the last while looking back over my old blog posts through out the past 2 years and seeing how much has happened/changed in our lives. I was just thinking that a little over 2 years ago we were buying our house, starting the remodel, and I was very pregnant with Elijah. Fast forward a little over 2 years and here is a little bit of how different our family looks:

Elijah is born
Major remodel of our house is basically done
We now own a dog
We've driven 4 children in an SUV to Washington State and back in 3 weeks
We've gone from one kid in kindergarten to now one in 2nd, one in kindergarten, and another in early preschool
My bow business has more than doubled in size
We went through a miscarriage and are now expecting again
My best friend has come to visit twice and we have gone to see her once
We learned about bats and successfully concurred them!
I've gone form anti-cooking to now gardening and canning
And....we are about to be a family of 7! WOW!

I am just simply amazed at how quickly our lives change. It doesn't seem like that much is changing, it's just when you look back you can't believe how far you've come in such a short time. I'm overjoyed at where we are in our lives. Yes we've had some pretty tough life lessons this year but we wouldn't be where we are today if we hadn't of gone through them. And as my sweet sister-in-law Miss Emily says, I'll look back next year and realize not only how much stronger Nathan and I's relationship is (which I can see already) but also how much stronger of a person I am. As I look back now I think well I guess I have changed this year. I don't know if I would call it stronger, I just see it as really realizing what is important in life. I see so much drama around me and I think really? Is it worth it? I hear 15 year olds acting like their life is about to end from some drama at school that day and I think...what major life event have you witnessed in your short 15 years? Have you lost a parent? Has your house burned down? What could possibly be that bad. I see things going on around me and all that wonderful drama on Facebook and I think really? How much of what seems soooo life ending to so many people today, will they even remember occurred 10 years from now? I guess I just changed my faded glasses of the past for more clear ones and see things a bit different now. I guess I just think that life is way to short to sweat all this drama. We aren't promised tomorrow and we have no clue how quickly our seemingly perfect lives can fall apart. I don't mean that in a dooms day attitude, I just mean that we should be thankful and feel blessed for the happiness we have because something ACTUALLY major could happen tomorrow. Then we will sit here looking back at just how petty and simple our drama from the previous day seems. I don't know, I guess that this past year has had me ask 2 questions when problems or drama arise.....1. Is this something that is worth all this emotion (will it change the path of my family or greatly affect one of it's members). More importantly perhaps 2. Is this an eternal issue (will this outcome of this event change either my faith, someone else's faith, or possibly lead or pull away someone from to or from Christ?) It kinda changes your whole outlook on life and everything in it. I don't think it's made me a glass half empty or morbid kinda person. I just think it's made me look twice at what really matters in my life, my faith, my husband and children (in that order), my extended family, and my close friends. I praise God for these things which He has blessed me with and I also praise God for allowing the rough times to show me how important the actual important things are in my life. God is able to take a hard time we go through and use it not only for His glory but also to sculpt us into the vessel He has planned for our lives.

I know DEEP, but it was what was on my heart so I thought I'd share it in hopes of encouraging someone else.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

January Already Come and Gone!

So January has already come and gone. It amazes me how quickly time can go by when you are chasing 4 little ones and drained from carrying your 5th. A large majority of the month was spent at home with at least one of the 6 of us sick. It seems as soon as we would get the last person over a virus, someone would start a new one. We had a horrid battle with the stomach flu this past month which had out whole family out for a week! I am so ready for Spring when I can open up all the windows and get all these nasty germs out of our house!

In the midst of all these viruses going through our house we also had an ER visit with Caroline. the girls woke us up very early one morning saying Caroline was shaking and they couldn't get her to talk to them. It looked like Caroline had had another seizure. She's had 3 previous ones but they have all been during some sore of illness and she's had a high fever of over 104 degree. This time there was no illness and a very low fever, but after the seizure she did not regain her language abilities. Anyone who knows Caroline knows she is definitely not lacking for words! So after a nerve racking ER visit, many failed attempts to get a blood sample (poor thing), and seeing 2 doctors they diagnosed it as another seizure resulting form a fever? Everything that led up to it just did not feel right so we were glad that at our follow up visit with our family doctor he suggested that we see a pediatric neurologist just to be sure. Caroline and I went up to Medina to meet a doctor form Children's Hospital. He was such a nice guy and answered all of our questions. He said the previous 3 seizures were fever seizures, but this one looked different. He said he believed this 4th one was an epileptic seizure and he ordered an EEG. He said that her reflexes and such looked great and he thinks the EEG will be fine. He also said that this doesn't mean epilepsy but even if it ended up to be, 75% of all kids grow out of it? I've never heard that before. So we left feeling better that we had our questions answered, but now having a whole new batch of questions. So we go in about a month for her EEG and we'll see the doctor again then. Until we just pray God will protect our Carebear and that there will be some answers when she goes for the EEG.

Miss Caroline also turned 4 this month! That doesn't seem possible! I still think Maddelyn should be just 4 and learning her letters and colors! WOW! Caroline celebrated the day by having her friend form across the street, Isabelle, come rollerskating with us. that was an adventure! Having 4 totally non-skaters and only 2 adults kept us busy. Maddelyn ended up being able to skate around slowly by herself. Emma and Isabelle did an okay job of skating around the room by holding onto the wall. Caroline pretty much gave up after about 30 minutes. She seemed to be having fun, just done with the whole skating idea. On her actual birthday she went out for her Daddy-Caroline Birthday Girl Breakfast and ate up the attention! We also had a family celebration that night with her favorite diner of tacos, decorating the dining room, and opening her gifts. It's hard to believe that out Sweet Little Caroline is no longer my peanut but turning into a little girl! She still is just such a sweetheart and always saying out of the blue "I love you Mom", " Your Beautiful", "I like your shirt", or simply giving hugs and kisses.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Wonderful Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas this year. I actually think I told Nathan it was one of the best in years. The whole season just seemed so relaxed and no one was in a hurry. Well I'd say quite a bit of that had to do with me spending most of December on the couch sick with baby #5. It sure does make the busy season slow down a lot! The Christmas holiday itself was just as relaxed! It was so nice to not be running and just take time and enjoy the little moments.

This year Elijah was so much fun! He realized very quickly that if he went and at in his "spot" at each gift opening, he'd get a present to open. All you say is "Elijah, you're turn" and he'd run and sit himself down in "his spot". So very cute!

Maddelyn this year also decided she didn't believe in Christmas magic anymore. Well let's just say this was the year where she said she didn't believe but, just in case she still wrote a letter to Santa. She also had to of course tell her younger sister Emma all the facts about Christmas, now making her be doubtful. Maddelyn can't learn any new facts without HAVING to share them with Emma. I was saying that since Maddelyn (at almost 8) still hasn't lost any teeth, she'll be over the tooth fairy now too before she even had a chance with it! She's too smart for her own good!

I tried to pick out some of my favorite pictures from Christmas. I didn't have all the pictures downloaded off my camera yet, but here are the favorites from what I had.....

Christmas Morning in their little Christmas dresses and suit.

Elijah got a workbench under the tree this year!

The girls with their American Girl Bunk Beds. They each unstack too so they have their own beds. I think they were pretty pleased with them!

The kids with their books from us. Each year we buy each child a hard back book, hopefully about something special to their personality. I thin write a letter to them each in the front cover of their book and date it. The letters are about what we've noticed about them that year and how they are growing. Hopefully when they leave us they will have 18 (or so??) books to take with them, each with a letter about how they changed that year.

Maddelyn in her church Christmas play.

Emma and Caroline as Birthday presents for Jesus in the Christmas play.

Making cookies at Grandma Great's house with all the cousins.

Elijah testing out how strong his new train table is that he got from Grandpa Greg and Grandma Bobbie.

Caroline and her beloved Bitty Baby. this was what she wanted most for Christmas and I think it made her day. She plays non-stop with Bitty Baby now and I'm almost fearful that Dumbo might have been replaced?? My little girl is growing up!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's been a long time.....

So obviously it's been a really long time. It's been a busy year and a year of walking on faith too and really blogging wasn't the first thing on my mind. Maybe blogging would have made the year a bit smoother if I had typed it all out but life goes on and before you know it months have passed and no blog updates. So out with the old and starting fresh from here.

The summary of our year...

In June Nathan and I went out to Texas for his cousin's wedding and we got to congratulate Andrew and Elba on their beautiful wedding! I was blessed to try my hand at taking some photos or them of the much fun!

July brought lots of visitors to our house! We started the month with Alicia and Emily and then ended the month with my sister-in-law Emily. It was so nice to have a house full of guests! the kids didn't know what to do with themselves after everyone had gone!
This Summer we were very blessed to find out that we were expecting a 5th baby. For reasons known only to God Himself He chose that our precious wee one was better off with Him. The rest of the Summer was spent learning a lot about God's plan for our lives as well as trusting completely in Him for our well being. I think God really was able to use this as a time for both our family and Nathan and I's marriage to grow stronger.

In September we were sooo excited to spend Labor Day in Williamsburg Va visiting my bestie Alicia (love ya girl) and her parents. We had so much fun both visiting colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown but also just spending time with her family. Of course the time ended way too soon and we can't wait until Alicia, Emma-Lee, and hopefully MeMaw Joye come to visit us this next Summer.

October was filled with Emma's 6th birthday party and our annual Hamons Family Camp Out. Emma had her very first slumber party and was blessed to have Miss Heidi do her party as an example for her new party business. Our house was oozing in hot pink and black with bling!! The Hamons Camp Out this year consisted of 34 people in 5 campers and 2 tents, 14 of those people being 8 and under!

November brought another wonderful blessing of finding out that we were again expecting a new baby. Of course there were lots of worries and fears but God has really given us a sense of peace over this baby and as of 2 weeks ago we were able to see a precious wiggling baby with a good strong heartbeat! As of the week of Christmas I am now 11 weeks along and our new arrival is due July 10th. Nathan is pulling for a boy for Elijah's sake, but of course I'd love another little girl! I've never had a little one to do my own hair bows on so it would be a really fun change...however we'd be thrilled with either!

That now brings us to December and Elijah's 2nd birthday. That just amazes me that he's 2! So weird to thing that I was pregnant with him when we bought this house and started our remodel! Wow! Elijah had also was blessed to have Heidi do his party as well and we of course had to do John Deere and farm. It was adorable!

So looking back this has been a very full year! We now have 1 girl in second, one girl in kindergarten, and one in preschool, Elijah is now 2 and oh yeah we have a new puppy! We welcomed Hershey our chocolate lab into the family in July. So anyways its been a full year but a blessed year. We've had quite a bit of time relying on God, but He has always been there when we've needed him and been directing our path along the way.
Hopefully this now means that I'll be updating my blog again on a regular basis. I'm making it a priority even if it's just a quick post. Happy Advent!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Month in Reivew

Wow! A month since my last post! Honestly though that's kinda where I am in life right now. Life is say the least. Not really a bad full, just full. Besides that with being able to connect with so many people on Facebook with just a simple 1 or 2 line post about wheat we're up to, I don't feel that burning need to make a blog post as much. Although I said the whole reason I wanted to start a blog was to keep basically a online journal of the happenings of our lives for my kids to have in the future. Of course that would be quite a bit better if I had my blog actually printed out or something. Yep...let's just go ahead and add that to the master-never ending-always updating-to-do-list. Print Blog....check. Okay so back to what's been going on in the not so tiny butter cream house on the corner.

Well since we came back from NCY Miss Maddelyn turned 7...yes...pick yourselves back up off the floor...she's 7! I mean I know time flies by but 7? She's officially not a preschooler-kindergartner anymore! I think every day I see just 1 or 2 more things about her mannerisms that show me she is growing up. She has become a wonderful reader and spends any free time she gets on the floor or couch with a book. All of this reading has opened up a whole new world for her and she now has lots of new questions about what she's read as well as the world around her. Sometimes I honestly have to tell her "I really don't know Maddelyn?" Parenting for the past 7 years as well as a college degree in Early Child Education in no way prepared me for all her questions. I guess that's the way one learns though! She's so her father's child!

To celebrate Maddelyn's birthday she had a horse party at someone from our church's riding stables. Each of the girls got to help groom the horses and watch them be saddled up before they each got a turn to ride. The older girls were even able to guide themselves through the course once they got the hang of it. Maddelyn had a blast! After she got the American Girl Doll Felicity for Christmas last year she's been all into horses...just like Felicity. We searched all over town for the perfect horse cake and Grandma and Great Grandma got her a horse for Felicity to ride as well. I asked her if this was the best party ever and she said "Mom all of the parties have been the best!" Awe bonus points for her!

The next week we of course celebrated Easter. We were excited that Nathan's dad came to visit for a couple of days and was here to go with us to a local church's Easter egg hunt. That was so much fun! Caroline was kinda shy about it at first but eventually did pretty well. Maddelyn was a super egg hunter, and Miss Em...well she took the prize with how many eggs she got. I'd have to say she definitely inherited that competitive gene from her dad (just don't tell him I said that!) The older 2 girls were in a dance Easter morning at church and after service we had a family cookout at my Aunt and Uncle's house in Willard. It's kinda like the first cookout of the season for us all.

April also saw a bridal shower that we threw for my sister-in-law-to-be Beth. What a sweetheart she is! Not only is she amazing with my nephew and nieces (and keeps my brother in line haha) but like Caroline says "Beth Ann's my best friend" kinda sums up how much my children adore her. Welcome to the family Beth!

I was so blessed to have a mother-in-law who loves me dearly enough to make a very last minute-unplanned trip to Cincinnati for a Homeschool Convention. All I'm going to say is AMAZING! If you're a homeschooler and have never been to one it is worth doing everything you can to get to go to one. We went to the Midwest Homeschool Convention were there were over 250 speakers and 300 vendors! I left feeling so inspired and feeling like yes we can finish the rest of the year! Not only was I able to sit in on some amazing speakers, but I was also able to see products first hand and go through each curriculum. I also found lots of new ideas and companies that I had never heard of. Of course I did do well more than enough shopping, but I came home with a new spelling/phonics curriculum for the girls (All About Spelling - AMAZING), science kits like dissecting an owl pellet, workbooks, manipulatives, readers, devotionals, and lots more. It was a wonderful time both at the convention and spending a weekend with my Mom-in-Law. Thanks Carla!

The next weekend I went to Louisville for a Women of Joy convention with our church. My mom, aunts, cousin, mother-in-law, and grandmother-in-law also all came making the weekend even more fun! The only thing that could top that off is not only did we see Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith in concert...but we saw SARAH PALIN!!!! Let me just say that she was even more amazing in person than I've ever seen her on TV. She not only spoke on her faith but what it was like for her to go through the rough waters she's been through lately both politically and with her family. I left seeing her even more as a role model! It was a great weekend of great speakers and a wonderful "girl time" with the family.

Well I guess that puts us to here. So right now finds me getting ready for our annual garage sale and juggling trying to finish up our lessons for the year in school as May approaches. This will be the first year that Maddelyn takes her state requited testing to see where she's at with her school work. I think Momma is much more nervous than she is? No...I know Momma is much more nervous! Basically it feels like I'm being tested. You think my education background would make this a breeze for me...nope I think it makes it worse because I know how much the public school students are being tested on. I guess all we can do is try and expose her to as much as possible this year and just pray that she does well on them. Why does it sound so much easier than really doing it?

So as May approaches we will be starting tee-ball and coach pitch with all three girls. Yes even Caroline will have a team for her this year. That could be very interesting??? We are still working on Elijah to walk...yes the kid WILL NOT let go of us or the furniture and just take off. He can do it just fine but refuses to let go. Stubborn that's the only word for it. Nathan will be traveling a lot this month with work so that means there will be a lot of mommy-kid time to fill. We'll be doing quite a bit of yard work when he is home trying to get the overgrown mess the previous owners had under control. Something that drives an OCD person nuts is pulling in their driveway and seeing nothing but weeds! Oh my! It's also getting very close to garden time to so that will be on the agenda as soon as the garage sale is over. We had a huge but lovely crop of tomatoes last year that I made into freezer spaghetti sauce. I'm not sure what else I'll be putting out this year, but I do know that this year the bunnies and I will be at war!

So you can see that this will be yet another full month in our house but like I said before, full doesn't mean bad full. It just means full!