Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Off to see some Fall color!

We decided to take a mini vacation and drive to Arkansas and rent a cabin for an extended weekend!  This has always been a dream of mine (to rent a cabin) somewhere in the mountains.  I know, this is not a big dream. But I've wanted to do it for years!  So when our anniversary (17 yrs!) came around this year in September I requested a family vacation to see some Fall colors.  It's been a hot summer and we didn't take a vacation because of my pregnancy.  After having Micah, I feel energetic and ready to do things with my children that I haven't had the motivation to do!  I guess when your pregnant sometimes you just live in survival mode.  

So we found a great deal and took off Friday afternoon and drove half way to our destination to Texarkana and got a room at a hotel.  At breakfast the next morning, I was sitting with my husband with a full tummy, a cup of tea and a sleeping baby in my arms!  Could life get any better? Maybe only in heaven.  It was a wonderful moment. 

 We headed off to Mena, Arkansas, a nice two hour drive north of Texarkana to West Arkansas along the Oklahoma border.  I was hoping to see some colors but there wasn't much color to see! I found out later that it's been dry in Arkansas and not very cold yet so the trees are late in turning.  I guess I've been spoiled living in California and Colorado.
  I had to adjust my attitude, which is no easy task.  Instead I focused on the beauty of being with my family.  I had the attention of my husband all weekend!  We have a precious new baby that did absolutely wonderfully traveling and our older 4 children got along great in the car and we all enjoyed each other. We didn't watch T.V. even though we had one, no computer and we didn't have any cell phone access! We just had each other! Now really, what is there to grumble about!  We did get to see SOME Fall colors. We took pictures every time we did because it was so rare that we would run across a red tree or see some yellow in the middle of brown or green.

Here are some of the million pictures that we took of our trip.  Enjoy!

Isn't this a cute little country cabin!  It came fully furnished with a loft, full bath, and equipped kitchen.  They even provided firewood and a gas grill!  

It was decorated so cozy and warm that it had a very relaxing feel.  A step up from tent camping, that's for sure!
This was a steep ladder!  On the last day Reece heard a mouse or rat chewing near his bed!  He came down that ladder very fast!  Then giggling he encouraged his sister to go first back up in the loft to try and get it.  He was rooting his brother and sister on as he sat back half way down the ladder.  We all laughed till our sides ached!
When we first unpacked our things, the boys went outside to target shoot with their air-soft guns and the girls decided to play cards.
We got in on the annual Mena air show.  It was a beautiful day to walk around and look at airplanes.  The kids got to go inside this vintage airplane and actually sit in the cockpit!  My Dad would have loved this place!

These are for you, Dad!  They were giving rides if you wanted to pay!  The kids loved being this close to these little airplanes watching them take off and land!

The next day we went to visit the Cassotot River.  We hiked down to the falls.  This was just one of the pretty sights we took from the bridge.
There was a great big divot in this rock!  Perfect to sit in.  These were taken before they all conveniently fell in the river by accident, of course!

I cannot get my girls to wear pants for things like this!  I'm not complaining.  They are not comfortable in pants and insist on wearing their dresses, even when playing like this.  They look very feminine but are actually very daring at heart!

Micah was such a little trooper the whole time.  He was in the car seat a lot or in a backpack.  This was one of the times he got to stretch out and enjoy the sun.  He is so snuggly at this age!  I love this picture with the river behind us!
One of the few trees we saw changing colors!  The red was striking when we actually got a glimpse!

Micah at 9 weeks old!

These smooth rocks went right up the rivers edge.  They felt great on bare feet.  The only problem is that they were very slippery when under the water.  Reece went running to put his feet in and they slipped right out from under him and he went down and hit his head on the rocks!  Thankfully God watched over him and he wasn't hurt.  While I was comforting Reece, Julia did exactly the same thing!  But she came up laughing instead of crying.  They all knew to be very careful from that point on!  
Can you see the tongue?
A.J. loved the adventure of climbing from rock to rock and floating down stream a little.  This kind of fun was exactly what he was hoping for.  He wants to go back so badly!  

Yes, the hair is still sticking straight up!  I love this picture too!
Drying off in the sun after swimming fully clothed! Doesn't this look like sand?  It's really smooth rock!
We had fun trying to cook in the kitchen.  Olivia wasn't that excited to cook or do dishes because she wasn't familiar with where everything was.  Guess she likes her own kitchen better.  We had some great meals.  It's so much easier with a stove and oven than a camp stove and no sink like when we tent camp!

Can you figure out what this is?  It's a stick bug!  It looks just like a stick and is really hard to spot.  The bug is the horizontal stick in the middle of this picture.  It's legs are wrapped around the leaf stem above it.  See it?

Rich took this picture and it turned out really great!  He likes to have fun with the camera on scenic shots.

Reece is holding a mushroom he pulled up from the ground by our cabin!  We were packing up the car and he came running up with big eyes, so proud of his find.  He wanted to bring it home!  Not!
I loved these trees with the little red berries! They reminded me of a Thanksgiving
 center piece or even Christmas.  Wish I could have taken a tree home with me!
One of the first pictures with all 7 of us together since Micah's birth!  We set the camera up and then Rich had to run to get into the picture which is why he is leaning.

Thanks for taking the time to go on vacation with us!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Playing Dress-up as a kid!

Look out!  These tough guys have guns!

What a cute cowboy!

A.J. pulled out these jeans from last year and it looks as though we need to go shopping!

These two characters have a damsel to protect!  Don't mess with Julia or you'll have to answer to her two brothers!  Even though Reece is younger than her, he is probably the one who will fight ya!

Can you guess who is the clown in our family?

Julia is all girl and loves the prairie days just like most 8 year old girls.

Remember playing dress-up as a kid?  The times I remember dressing up was at Halloween.  I was never anything evil or bad for I grew up in a Christian home and never had a desire to imitate the dark side of life.  I have pictures of my friends and I as Hobos and another year we were cowgirls and Indians.  It was most fun to dress up together with friends.  

When our children were very little and we were introducing the idea of dressing up at Halloween, we were convicted of celebrating this holiday even in a very benign way.  We follow Christ and all he represents.  How could we participate in such a dark holiday that glorifies witches, ghosts and monsters?  Jesus says, come out from among them and be ye separate.  There are so many passages in the Bible that speak of fleeing evil and encourage believers to imitate Christ not the world.  What would Jesus think of Halloween?  Well, you guessed it, we decided Halloween was not for our family.  That was a hard decision to make and it took us a few years to finally give it up all together.  I had many fond memories of dressing up and I love Fall and the cooler weather.

But many times, when God asks us to give up something for Him, he replaces it with something better!  This has happened to me multiple times and I'm always grateful to draw closer to Christ.  We have such a loving Father in the Lord!  The "better" about this decision to give up Halloween was that God showed me through some great friends that dressing up can be done all year long!  I had several friends who had a big chest and were filling it with dress-up clothes and even old Halloween costumes from thrift stores for their kids to play around in whenever they felt in the mood to pretend.  What a fabulous idea!  Our children periodically pull out some dress up stuff and have a ball.  I always love to watch them use their imaginations and see what they want to imitate!  The photos above show what 3 of them were playing recently.  Olivia was gone this day but she is not too old to participate in dressing up.  At 13 she still loves it too!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Lean Machine!

This is what I think of those doctors who think I'm skinny!

Hip, hip, hooray! I'm 10 pounds today!

Today we are so happy to find out that Micah weighs 10 pounds.  I've always had trouble nursing with my other children and gave up early on and just put them on formula.  This time around, I really wanted to breast feed as long as I could just because of the nutritional benefits for Micah. 

 I had a feeling he wasn't getting enough at the end of the day and knew that there were herbs that might help me produce more.  Micah also had an appointment with a pediatrician that we had never been to before so naturally I brought this up at his 1 month check.  After she evaluated his birth weight and how much he had gained since then, she began to say that he was under weight and not thriving (hard words to hear as a Mom)!  Her solution? Demand feed!

  Demand feeding is so silly in my book because basically the definition is feeding your baby whenever he/she cries.  When they demand anything, feed them!  Well, the problem is that they don't talk yet!  So Mom's have to have a little knowledge about when a baby is hungry and when they are just tired or cranky.  Babies will snack all the time if you let them. From what I've learned, you need them to nurse long enough to get the rich, hind milk that comes at the end of the nursing period.  That's the really good stuff.  The problem with demand feeding is that babies snack and never really take in a full feeding because they aren't really very hungry.  They do need to eat a lot when they are little, but not more than every 2 1/2 - 3 hours!  I would be nursing all day if I fed Micah more often than that.  This is what the doctor was proposing. 

 I was taken a back that she did not want to talk about my experience with my other children and nursing, nor did she want to know how long I nurse him or how many times a day  he eats.  She did not suggest any herbal supplements but instead disapproved of schedules and ushered us out because it was her lunch hour!  I guess you could say that I did not click with her!

Well, I'm happy to say that I did some research and found that Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle are both natural herbs that help with milk production.  I immediately bought both and began taking them and have seen a significant difference.  Plus the proof is that Micah weighed in at 10 pounds today!  He has gained a pound and a half since the appointment with that silly doctor!  He may always be lean like my other babies but he will not fail to thrive!

Rejoicing in God's grace!


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bringing light and comfort to a leper colony

Gospel for Asia sent a group of interns to India for 2 weeks and they returned last week with video footage, slides, and many stories to share.  One of the many cool things they got to do was to hand out gifts at a leper colony!  They shared the video of this event from their recent trip on Tuesday night!  Apparently, some of the money from last years Christmas catalog went towards buying kerosene lamps for those who live in India without electricity.  These lamps are valued much more there than they would be here.  Imagine what your life would be like if you had no light after the sun set!  Anyway, they were able to give a lamp and a mosquito net to some of the lepers in this colony that they visited!  I'm sure it was humbling to pass these out when they themselves did not purchase these gifts for them.  Yes, westerners did actually buy them but to be the recipient of so much thankfulness when you played a very small part is a real privilege! I had never seen someone with leprosy before until this video.  It looks like what you would imagine.  Their limbs are literally rotting away by this disease.  Many had canes to help them walk and special shoes were being made by missionaries to help them out even more.

So along with this story, I wanted to call your attention to the side bar of this blog.  You can click on the Christmas catalog link to see this years catalog or the Gospel for Asia link to visit the website and learn more about what Gospel for Asia is all about!  I can attest that the catalog was beautifully done this year as it was last year!  There are so many interesting pictures of the people from Asia!

Thanks for visiting! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Contagious Smiles

Ok, where are you?  Something over here has my attention.
I can almost see that smile!  It's a comin'!

Today is going to be a great Day!

When Micah smiles, everyone smiles!

So much is going on in my brain, but all I can say is "Oooo".