22 weeks

I missed my update last week. Things are going well with my pregnancy so far. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about if we’re planning another home birth this time.
Yes we are.
We had such a wonderful experience having Titus at home that we’d like to do it again. That and it’s virtually impossible to find a doc here who will let me VBAC after having 3 c/s. We live 4 blocks from the hospital here in town and if we would need to transfer it would be a short trip. The closest OB doctor is an hour away and considering how quickly my labor went with Titus I don’t think we’d make it. So the plan is, Lord willing, that this baby will be born at home just as quickly and easily as Titus was.
I’ve finally gained a little weight. My last two full term pregnancies I gained less than 10 lbs with each of them. In fact, with Zeke I gained less than he weighed at birth and he was my biggest baby. I eat, I really do, it’s just how it goes I guess.
I’m feeling the baby move more which is reassuring. I have an anterior (front) placenta so sometimes when he kicks it’s like he’s kicking a pillow so it doesn’t always feel as strong as it could. The boys have been able to feel him kick from the outside though this week, which has been exciting for them. It took a minute for Zeke to realize what he was feeling, but once he did the smile on his face was priceless. Titus still has no idea what is going on.
I’ve noticed that I have to be much more aware of what I’m eating and how much water I’m drinking. I always underestimate how much protein I am eating and when I don’t get enough I feel rotten and I notice more swelling. I can’t really stand the texture of nuts when I’m pregnant, so I have to get a little more creative with snacks throughout the day. I really just forget to drink water during the day, I get busy and don’t realize how thirsty I am until I sit down for meals. I’ve decided to set a reminder every so often to make me stop and take a drink here and there.
We’re no where close to having a name for this little guy. We have a list, but nothing that strikes us yet. We take a while picking a name and this time is no different. We have definite criteria for our names and it’s likely that we’ll have to take a look at this little guy before he gets an official title.
I am so thankful to be 22 weeks. God reminds me on a daily basis to trust Him and there have been days that I’ve allowed the fear of losing another pregnancy creep in and rob me of my joy. The ability to continue carrying this baby is such a blessing and I am ever so thankful for each moment I have.

Life with boys

After finding out a few weeks ago we were expecting boy #5, we’ve heard lots of “really?!? Another boy?” or “Oh man, do you wish it was a girl?”. The truth is nope I don’t. I would love to have a girl someday, but after two losses in the last 12 months, I am delighted with a healthy baby and Lord willing I will be able to hold him in my arms in spring. I couldn’t be happier with another boy.
Life with boys…It’s an adventure. This past week especially. Here are some things I’ve learned about being the only girl in a house full of boys.

1. Teach them to clean bathrooms early. Once they start potty training, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you will need to clean the bathroom on a fairly frequent basis. At the very least the toilet will need a good wipe down and most likely the floor around it too. So…since I don’t use the facilities standing up I’ve taught the boys how to clean the bathroom. I haven’t cleaned a toilet in the boy’s bathroom for a couple of years. In fact, as part of our life skills day each week, our boys clean their bathroom and at least one other bathroom in our house…and most of the time they do a stand up job (Hehehe). Oh yeah…don’t put the good bathroom rugs in the boy’s bathroom either.
2. Get used to body humor. I don’t think it really matters how much you try to avoid this, but at some point with boys farts, burps and arm toots become really funny. I would, however, recommend limiting it to places other than the dinner table, public gatherings and church.
3. Save money for co-pays. We have learned to just budget for a co-pay each month. With 4 boys, we’ve spent our share of time in urgent care, the orthopedic office and the pediatricians office. By the way…did you know that they don’t put casts on in the peds office any more? They send you to the ortho office…it’s all just a scam if you ask me, but I can’t do anything about it. In the 10 years we’ve had our boys…we’ve had 4 broken arms (two broken arms on two different boys) and a broken nose. I’m pretty sure that the count will only go up from there.
4. It pays to have some dermabond (think super glue for skin) around. If we ran to Urgent care for every thing that needed to be pulled together we’d be very poor. Otto seems to be our “laceration/open wound” kid. We have had to take him for staples a time or two, but for most things the dermabond works just fine. I even used it on myself this last week when I had a run in with the camera. Actually, I was taking the picture and my son had a run in with the camera giving me a gem of a cut and a black eye.
5. I might also suggest being a nurse or at least taking a couple first aid classes. Again…cost savings here is totally worth it. Parenting in general isn’t for sissies and parenting boys makes it doubly true. Being a nurse helps me decide if it’s really something that needs to be seen or just a “rub dirt in it and walk it off” kind of thing.
6. Buy livestock. Seriously. We have purchased a whole cow the last 3 years. We have had just a little left at the end of each year. I can’t imagine what it will be like when these guys get to be teenagers. We already have 2 deep freezers and keep them fairly full. I’m thinking that a future in cattle farming may not be a bad investment…except we’d eat all the profits. Oh yeah…consider purchasing chickens (we go through 5 dozen eggs a month easily), goats (for milk…I hear they’re much easier to milk) and possibly 10 acres for a garden. I so wish our new community allowed you to at least have hens in town…and maybe a dairy cow.
7. Don’t buy expensive jeans or shoes. They wear them out so fast that it doesn’t matter if you spend $50 or $10 on jeans. Crawling around on hands and knees causes the same wear and tear. I promise.
8. Boys are physical. They play and fight and work physically. Everything they do is physical. The throw punches at the same time they’re hugging each other. They jump while they’re counting, folding laundry or eating dinner.
9. They are loving and tender-hearted. Our boys care about each other and other people. They write each other notes, make gifts and generally watch out for one another. Their feelings get hurt, they need reassurance that they’re growing up to be men and they need to know that you’re proud of them. Even though they’re busy…they need hugs and kisses regularly.
10. You will do lot of laundry. I mean lots. It will be muddy, dusty and sometimes slimy. I would suggest making sure you check pockets before you put them in the washer, otherwise you’ll end up with a basin full of rocks, sticks, coins, markers and possibly a small creature that didn’t survive the spin cycle.
11. I wouldn’t trade having boys for anything. We get a lot of comments about having all boys and people are always so astounded when I tell them I would take 10 more even if they’re all boys. I delight in our boys. I delight in their activity, in their energy and in their “boyness”. My boys bring me so much joy. They may be busy and active, but they don’t have me running crazy and they’re not a “disaster” or “trouble” like so many fear. My boys rock.
If I’m ever blessed with a girl…I’d delight in her as well, but it’s not like I’m disappointed that I don’t have a girl yet. If God gives me boys for the rest of my life…I’d be thrilled. I figure if I have all boys that I will get my “daughters” when they get married.
Every child is a gift from God, boy or girl. They each have their own unique personality and I really believe that it’s all in your perspective.


Grow up

I wanted to share with you this week an email my husband sent to our congregation this week. It made me pause and think a bit and I feel like it’s a good reminder for us all to grow up…
This week I was informed by Erin that our 2 oldest boys, Gabe and Otto, were talking amongst themselves about how they wanted to grow up. The topic was one day about the fact that they had hair on their legs. Even though it was light hair, it was still hair. Another day Gabe asked , “What could I do to make myself grow taller?” Erin told him that there was not a lot that you could do, but it is important to eat healthy; eat your fruits and vegetables. Whether he will eat his fruits and vegetables is another matter, but I wanted to share something that baffles me a little.
Kids want to grow up. I cannot speak for what little girls want since I never was one nor have I had the pleasure of raising one up as of yet, but little boys want to grow big and strong. They look forward to the day when they will be able to lift heavy objects, grow hair, and even shave the hair on their face. If there were something that they could do to grow up faster, they would most likely do it. But the thing that gets me is this, how often do we as believers ask our Father, “What must I do to grow up?”
Is there a desire within you to grow up spiritually? Do you long for your faith in the Lord to strengthen? Although questions regard growing up physically seem to be common place among young boys, there seems to be a lack of these questions for us as believers spiritually. Are you growing up spiritually? If not, have you made an intentional change in your plans so that you can grow? If you are pressing “on toward the goal” (Philippians 3:14), then continue that and may God bless you in that. But if you are content with where you are at spiritually, then I would recommend that you reexamine your life and God’s Word. My prayer as I write this is that we all may have a God-given desire to “Grow Up” and that God would help us in our endeavors to become more Christ-like.
Pastor Kerry
**This especially hit home for me as I pondered the events of the last year and how God has used them to grow me and how far I still feel like I have to go. I can’t say that I did anything intentional to grow up, it was God putting things in my path to make me grow. He allowed me to experience hurt, disappointment, rejection, abandonment and deep grief. He allowed me to feel the love of others who surrounded me and the peace that only He could provide. I will admit too, that there were many times when the last thing I wanted to do was “grow up”. But I’ve grown, I’ve learned and I’m still doing both of those. **

Week 20 — Halfway

I’m a little late with my update, mostly because I was so busy this week. I am officially at the half way mark. I am so thankful. Otto keeps asking how many more weeks until the baby will be born. Oh honey if I knew…
I am feeling the baby move more each day and I’m so delighted. I find myself ever more thankful for every kick and squirm. I often find myself sending up little prayers after each kick. “Thank you God for that, please protect our baby” In the last week or so I have found myself becoming more hopeful, although I still struggle some with anxiety about whether this pregnancy will continue. I think the fear losing another baby late in pregnancy is my biggest struggle right now.
I have found a good chiropractor who I’ll see every few weeks. She is pregnant with her 6th baby, 5th boy! She’s due just a few weeks before I am, so I’m not quite sure what will happen after she gives birth. I saw my last chiropractor several times the last few weeks of pregnancy and I really feel like it made a huge difference for me. But for now I am thankful that I have someone who makes me feel comfortable.
Everything seems to be going fine. Blood pressure is good, baby’s heart rate is good and I’ve finally gained some weight. I don’t usually lose weight at the beginning, but kind of hold steady until I get halfway, at least that’s how it’s been with my last two boys. In fact, with both of them I gained less than what they weighed. We’ll see how it goes this time. I still have to force myself to eat. It’s not that the nausea to that severe, but nothing sounds good to eat. I just don’t feel like eating, even if I’m hungry nothing sounds good. It’s tough and it gets discouraging.
Again, I’m taking one week at a time and I’m thankful for every moment.

New Recipe — Bierocks

I grew up in a small town in South Central Kansas. Small enough that we had lunch ladies (I should say moms, as most of them had kids in school with us) that made our lunch homemade and fresh everyday. I can still remember the smell of lunch cooking as we walked the halls between classes. There were some definite favorites and the lunches we had are some of my favorite memories. My husband and I enjoyed school lunch so much that a couple of years ago when we had the chance to visit my mother in law at school during the lunch hour, we ate school lunch with her and our boys. It was just as much fun as a grown up as it was as a kid, complete with chocolate milk from the cardboard carton.
I was so delighted when the PTA came out with a cookbook from the grade school several years ago and my mother in law bought me one as a Christmas gift. It has so many of my favorite recipes from school lunches and it’s been fun to make them for our boys who have their “school lunch” around our dining room table. This recipe is a German Mennonite recipe and one of our favorite school lunches ever. I haven’t perfected it as well as the ladies who made them for the entire school, but they sure bring back memories. (I should say some of the recipes in the cookbook are still the “big” group recipes used in the school, including this one so I had to do some calculating to bring down the ratios)
3lbs hamburger
1 onion chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 head cabbage shredded (I process mine in the food processor)
4 cups shredded American cheese (I’ve used cheddar, and usually add a bit more)
Brown beef, onion, salt and pepper in skillet. Chill in fridge. I usually add my cabbage to the mixture and chill it all together in the fridge while I make my dough.
8-9 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup dry milk
1 tsp salt
1 package  yeast
3 1/2 cup warm water (95-100 degrees)
2 eggs
1/2 shortening (I used butter)
Mix all together. Dough will be soft but shouldn’t be very sticky. Pinch dough into 2oz balls (I have no idea how big this really is, really I just make them about the size of a golf ball or plum). Let rest briefly. Flatten with hands into a circle, if the dough sticks to your hands dust them with flour. Place scoop of meat mixture in center (usually 2-3 TBLS or so…about an ice cream scoop). Pull dough up and pinch edges together. Place pinched side down on paper lined pans (or you can grease the pans). Let rise (45 min-1 hour), mine don’t get big like rolls…maybe I don’t let them rise long enough but usually by this point I’m pretty darn hungry for bierocks). Bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes or until light brown. They do freeze well.
Kerry and the boys like them with ketchup, but I prefer mine with mustard. They are wonderful! I’m still working on making them look “pretty” like they did in school, but they still taste good. To make it a classic “school lunch” serve with dill pickle, corn and oatmeal cookie.
**I did read in another recipe in the same cookbook that you can roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick and cut in rectangles then fill and pinch as above. I may try this next time to save a little time**


Wexy Bag review

I don’t usually use snack bags for our boys, but I was delighted to try Wexy Bags. Since we homeschool, I don’t pack lunches everyday but these did come in handy when we visited the zoo last week.

The snack bags are BPA free and biodegradable! That means we can compost them. How cool is that? Another great thing about them is that they’re made in the USA (we always try to support products made here) and they can be reused again and again.
While I really liked this product, perhaps my favorite thing was the website. The have a whole “Meet the Monsters” page. Each monster (there are 4 of them) has a story. One might have a special diet, one might like eating certain types of foods etc. It was a lot of fun for my boys to check out the site and it brought up some good discussion about vitamins, minerals and healthy food choices.
We used the bags last week when we went to the zoo. I packed snacks in them and put crayons and little notepads in a couple of the bags for the little guys while we drove. I love the fact that each bag had one of the four monsters on the front, and since I have 4 boys it meant they each got their own bag. I think it would be cool to put a few little snacks and maybe popcorn in them for a special family movie night.
You can learn more about Wexy bags by visiting their website, following them on Facebook or Twitter.
“I received the above products through Sublime Media Connection in exchange for an honest review. In no way was I asked to give a positive review.”

Funky Monkey Review

Our family really likes dried fruit, but often times it is way expensive or tastes bitter and isn’t very good. I was delighted to receive Funky Monkey snacks to try and review.
They come in these really fun packages and grabbed our attention right away.

This isn’t just plain old dried fruit, but they really retain the flavor of the actual fruit. Funky Monkey has a unique freeze drying process that retains the flavor and the nutrients of the fruit. There is no high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors or preservatives. Each ounce of Funky Monkey fruit contains 3 servings of real fruit. Wow! I was surprised at that fact alone! Flavors include : Applemon, Bananamon, Carnival mix, Purple funk and Jivealime.
When these first came in the mail, the boys couldn’t wait to try them. In fact, we opened the first package and ate them as a snack, and then we opened the second and the third and the fourth. Only one package made it unopened until the next day. We all had our own favorite flavors. I really liked the Applemon (apple and cinnamon), the boys liked the Bananamon and Jivealime. My husband like the Purple Funk and Carnival Mix. There was definitely something for everyone in this mix.
You can visit Funky Monkey snacks at http://funkymonkeysnacks.com/ or like them on Facebook and Twitter at https://www.facebook.com/FunkyMonkeySnacks or https://twitter.com/FunkyMonkeySnck. The snacks can be found at many retail and health food stores.

I received the above products through Sublime Media Connection in exchange for an honest review. In no way was I asked to give a positive review.

Week 19 — It's a…

Healthy baby! We had our sonogram this last week and everything looked good. For that, we are so very thankful for a good report.
I have been feeling the baby move a bit more which is reassuring. I felt the baby move a little later in my pregnancy than my others and it doesn’t happen as often, which had me a bit concerned a couple weeks ago. I found out at my sonogram that I have an anterior placenta, which means it’s on the front side of my uterus, so that serves as a cushion for feeling movement from the baby. I had an anterior placenta with Titus too. One of the big concerns with a placenta on the front and my history of c-sections is that the placenta can grow into the c-section scar, which can be a big problem after the baby is born. Thankfully, the placenta seems well out of the way of the scar and since it will be moving up as my uterus grows, it won’t grow down towards the scar. Whew! Good thing.
I wasn’t sure I wanted to know what we were having this time, I kind of wanted it to be a surprise. There was no hiding it though when we were watching the sono. This baby is definitely another boy and we are thrilled! When this baby is born we will have 5 boys in our home (and one waiting for us in eternity). I told Kerry that surely the comments we’ll get when we have 5 boys with us won’t be any worse than the ones we get now with 4 boys. One of our sons was a bit disappointed when he found out he was having a brother. He said “But mom! I prayed for a sister!” Once he was assured that a baby brother would want him to hold him as much as a sister would he seemed to be okay. The bigger brothers were both delighted! So now comes the big “name debate” at our house. It is completely likely that this little guy won’t have a name until after he is born. We like to lay eyes on them before we make it official.
I’ve been feeling okay this week, eating is still a challenge. Nothing ever sounds good and I have a really hard time making myself eat. I get hungry, but have a difficult time finding anything appetizing. This is all pretty typical for me. Spicy things generally go down easier, but still it takes a bit of convincing to make me feel like eating.
Here are a few pictures from our sonogram this past week.


Verenika is a traditional German Mennonite dish. I taught myself how to make them when we moved to Pueblo, because there are no German Mennonite restaurants in Pueblo. So here is the recipe, I took pictures, but haven’t been able to upload them successful. I’ll keep trying.
In a large bowl, whip 3 egg whites. Add 1/2 cup milk and whip again. Add about 2 cups of flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Use enough flour to knead. The dough will be a bit stiff. I roll it out and use either a round biscuit cutter or cut in rectangles, the pocket should be about the size of a large drink lid or so.

Mix 1 pint dry cottage cheese (I could find this easily in Pueblo, but haven’t been able to find it here. I usually buy a container of cottage cheese, rinse it and dry it in the fridge on a cookie sheet), 3 egg yolks, salt, pepper. You can add a little cream if you like creamier filling, I prefer a dry filling.
1-2 tablespoons of cheese mixture on each square. Fold over and press the edges together.
Cook in boiling water until Verenika float to the top. I usually brown mine a bit in a little butter on the griddle. To keep them warm before serving I put them in the oven at 170.
Serve with ham gravy.