For This Child I Prayed

“For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him.”

1 Samuel 1:27 ESV

Friends, if you have been reading here for a while, you will understand the gravity of what I am about to say:

We had a BOY!

It is with joy and a little bit of awe that I introduce to you…

Milo Walter Young

Born 7/3/20 at 4:53 am,

weighing 6 lbs 13 oz.

I want to be very clear here that we have never been “trying for the boy”. We have boys, and they are wonderful! And we have always been overjoyed to welcome each of our girls. Like, no disappointment EVER!

But around the time we found out Freya was a girl, although I was so excited for her, I did have a sense that, at my age, I might never get to experience having a baby boy (which would have been fine!)

But in that moment (and quite a few after it), I lifted up an uncharacteristically specific prayer to God, that if there were to be any more babies, I would really love a boy.

When Milo was placed on my chest, I wept in praise of a God who not only faithfully meets my every need, but even extravagantly hears and answers prayers from the deep (and perhaps frivolous!) desires of my heart. Pippa told me after he was born that she was adding this to her list of “God is real” moments. He certainly is!

“The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”

Psalm 16:6 ESV

Baby Fever

As I type this we are two days from entering the “green phase” of finding our new post-pandemic normal. We have cautiously begun having small gatherings, and soon we will be able to gather for church and other events together. It’s been a weird time, these three months, but there have been many unexpected blessings. Time at home without appointments and distractions from family life has actually been lovely, especially since we finished school a couple weeks ago. While I have missed seeing the people I love face to face (so much!), I can’t say I have missed the rigorous pace of therapies and appointments that we usually have to keep.

Can you spot my incredibly talented sister Chelsea in my row of blondies?

In the midst of these strange times, we welcomed a new niece and cousin into our family! A little over a week past her due date (which is not nearly as tardy and stubborn as her mama was!), Brooke May made her grand debut. We are all so smitten.

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Hello, Jodi from mid July here! The above was a draft from June that never got finished. I will publish it for the sake of continuity, but stay tuned for more big news soon!

Youngs in Quarantine

Apparently, Newton invented calculus while under quarantine. Shakespeare wrote King Lear. Painters painted and writers wrote very famous things. I think my legacy from this plague of ours shall be that I kept 12 (and a half!) children alive and fed while THEY did some pretty cool things with all their extra free time. As for me, I’m kind of just getting through the day most of the time!

Coraline just finished reading The Lord of the Rings. The whole trilogy. I realize reading a classic is not quite the same as writing one, but she is only eight. When I attempted to slog through it in high school I only made it halfway through the second book!

Bea has adopted a sour dough starter and taken up a new baking hobby with great zeal. We are all very thankful beneficiaries!

Ro has been asking me nearly every day when she’s finished her school work, for as long as I can remember, “Mom, can I type?”. I almost always say yes, though I never really knew quite what she was up to. It turns out that right under my nose she has written some 162 pages of a fantasy novel! She hasn’t let me read it yet (even though I gave birth to her), but my mom has read it and seems very impressed. I’ll let you know when it goes to print ūüėČ

And of course, there has been So. Much. Crocheting! I’ve started checking before they start a new project to make sure they have a home in mind for it that isn’t mine, but we are getting overrun here.

A dinosaur I don’t remember the name of, by Niko.
A little poof chair (with a little person inside!) by Juniper.
Doll by Bea.
White Stallion by Juniper. Yes, it’s really crocheted.
Dragon by Romilly

Pippa especially has been using her crochet skills to try to bless others (for which I and my limited toy storage space thank her!). I especially love this little lady for a nurse friend of ours who is on the frontlines working with COVID patients.

The boys are continuing to do well at home. We are surviving “distance learning” and very happy to have them here with us. They are working on new skills, too.

Lewis completed this puzzle with very little help!
Everyone learning the Macarena at our wedding line dance themed dance party ūüôā

And there! Now I’ve written a blog post, so I’m not being completely unproductive after all ūüôā

Joy and peace to you in these uncertain times!

Babies, and COVID, and Praising God!

It’s been almost a year since I told you all I would start blogging more regularly. Man makes plans, and God laughs! It has been a whirlwind of a year, and I have started several posts and abandoned them in the busy-ness of life and in circumstances that change faster than I can blog about them.

But now, it doesn’t make sense to blog about anything other than THE SITUATION AT HAND: this strange thing that has affected every corner of the world and is changing every aspect of how we do life.

But first, some happy updates. I began a post back in November to tell you that my baby sister, the one who had just gotten married, is expecting her first baby! Before I even had a chance to finish that post, though, I discovered that we are also expecting again (and you know how that always makes the blog go quiet for a while!)

I am 26 1/2 weeks pregnant as I type this, and I am still in awe that I should be given this honor and privilege once again at my age. To get to share it with my sister is a joy I could never have dreamed of.

This has been my healthiest pregnancy since my 20s, thanks in large part to the eating plan I had just begun when I posted last April, the Trim Healthy Mama Plan. I am quite evangelical about it, but that is a topic for another post if people want to hear more. We also began running as a family (not usually in a huge horde, just a couple at a time!) last August using the Couch 2 5K program. We all ran our first 5K in November (I may have also told you about that in THE POST THAT NEVER WAS), and I am proud to say I am still running 5k at least once a week even at 6 months pregnant. But maybe not for much longer… the weather’s rapidly warming up these days! After Freya’s slightly scary pregnancy, I knew I needed to make changes for the sake of all these little people I am responsible for. The Lord has been so kind in this area, and I am thankful that my blood pressure, cholesterols, and weight are all in healthy ranges now.

Now, this pandemic. We are all safe and well! I do wonder if there may come a time when this thing affects us much more profoundly than it has so far, but it does feel pretty profound already.

March 13th was the day everything stopped. The boys have now been home from school for almost 4 weeks. Delia has not had her ABA therapy in that time. There have been no church, no AWANA, no trips to Pop-pop’s house. No visits with friends, no adoption support group. All of my usual chances to catch my breath were stripped away in an instant. For the first two weeks, I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. I was impatient with the kids, and every little thing made me cry (or at least feel like crying). The thought of carrying on like this for WHO KNOWS HOW LONG felt overwhelming… impossible even!

By God’s grace, things have gotten better! Instead of dwelling in the hard of this (because, as I have said through tears dozens of times to my mom and Trevor, “Everything is fine! Nothing is wrong!”), I want to share some wonderful praises:

  • Did I mention we are all healthy? It is so easy to get caught up in all that we have lost in this ordeal. It *feels* like a loss of freedom. But I am daily more aware of how much more others have lost. This thing is frightening. People are dying. I am thankful for those going to work every day while we are free to stay home and stay safe.
  • Our needs are completely met. Trevor is still working. Also, because my mom works at a grocery store, we have been able to get all of our essentials despite food limits which have been challenging to other families our size (or, you know, near our size!)
  • The boys are doing SO WELL at home!. I mean, like, I-might-just-homeschool-them-next-year well. We had an initial adjustment period of about a week as we learned to all be home together every day, but since then, I have enjoyed Lewis and Teddy more than I have in so long. They have relaxed back into our family. They smile at us more, give hugs more freely, even share better than they did when they were at school every day. We are doing a bit of school work after lunch most days and they love it! (Unlike homework time, which was often rather a struggle, even though it was exactly the same worksheets we’re doing now!) On Monday we begin official mandatory distance learning, which I think will be harder. You can pray for that, including for this die-hard homeschool mama’s attitude, which is not currently awesome about the whole thing.

I hope this update finds you all safe and well, and clinging to the One who is not surprised by any of it. I know my good days are the ones when I manage to remember that.

I will really try to be back soon this time. Really, really!

Summer So Far

I always think I’ll have more time for things like blogging when school is over, but it never seems to work like that.

We’ve had a couple of days at lakes in the Poconos. ¬†Teddy was unimpressed by the water the first time, and mostly hung out with me in my “nest of warmth and dryness”, but the second time he was much more adventurous!

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We’ve also had a few days at my dad’s house, a wonderful haven with a tire swing and a trampoline and tractor rides and chickens, and most of all a delicious meal I don’t have to cook!

The kids’ Sunday school class treated our whole family to a field trip to a life-size replica of the tabernacle of the Old Testament out in Lancaster. ¬†Niko volunteered to be a priest in the demonstration. ¬†Earlier in the tour, Lewis had played the part of Joseph with Bea and Teddy as his jealous older brothers. ¬†Oh, how I wish I gad acted quickly enough to get a video of that!

We had a lovely visit with my grandparents, who are both in their nineties and are blessed to still be together in their assisted living home after 72 years of marriage! ¬†Grandmom is on hospice care, and looking forward to meeting her Lord, but we were very thankful for the time we still have with her. ¬†She is one of two Alices in whose honor we chose Romilly’s middle name, so it was extra special for Ro to get to see her.

Over the holiday weekend, we were thankful to have Verity and Teddy dedicated in church. Verity wore the same dress that each of our babies has worn (and tried to eat the pastor’s mic! ¬†Cheeky!)

 

Fourth of July saw us at Teddy’s first big parade. ¬†He jumped right in and started dancing with a Bolivian dance troupe, which, thankfully, they were totally cool about ūüôā

 

And finally, we celebrated Bea’s 10th birthday with a day out to the Garden State Discovery Museum, to which we now have a membership. ¬†(Kudos to them for, unlike every other attraction we looked into, not limiting number of children on a family membership!) ¬†The kids loved it, even the ones who were slightly too big to love it ūüėČ

 

The slower pace of summer has been just what we’ve all needed to adjust to life as a family of thirteen. ¬†Teddy is doing so, so well, and we are all finding our new groove.

Farewell, Wee Man

This sweet face belonged to our first baby.  He was our practice kid who experienced our first feeble attempts at parenting.  Our Gulliver.

He was the center of our universe for a few years…

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…And then had to find his new place in the pecking order when Pippa arrived.¬† (She wasn’t that much fun at first.)

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He’s had to find it a few more times since then, but he has always remained a beloved member of the family.

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We loved this boy dearly, and we said goodbye to him on Thursday, at the ripe old age of thirteen.¬† He had been declining since last winter, and hadn’t been able to walk well enough to go for a walk since the summer.

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We postponed the inevitable for as long as we could, and we were thankful Guvvy got one last visit with Adrian.  They were old pals.

On Wednesday, we had a particularly rough day.  Mr. G went potty and then fell sideways into his mess.  While I was giving him his emergency bath, Junie managed to knock Coraline over and give her a bloody lip, and suddenly I knew I had to make the call.  After months of wondering if he would just go peacefully on his own or if I would have to make the most horrible decision ever, and wondering how I would ever know it was time to make that decision, I just knew.  Only I was too much of a mess to talk, so I called my sister instead and made her call the vet for me.

The next day, we took our sweet boy to his last appointment.  Romilly came with us: she wanted to be there.  Through tears, we all gathered round him to say our last goodbyes, and then just like that it was over.  I could no longer feel his heart beating under his too-skinny ribs.  It was so much harder than I ever could have imagined.

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You’ve been a good wee dog, Guvvy.¬† Sleep tight.

Gulliver Ezekiel Young

9/20/01 – 1/15/15

 

Merry Christmas!

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The blog has been quiet lately (it’s because Trevor has been switched to day shifts(!),¬† and I don’t seem to know how to be productive when he’s home in the evenings with me anymore – a good problem to have!), but I wanted to pop in to wish everyone a Merry Christmas from our family to yours.¬†¬† May God bless you abundantly with His peace and joy this holiday season.

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Another Birthday Week

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Would you believe that this little lady went and turned THREE on us on Monday?!¬† (I must be becoming an old woman for two posts in a row to revolve around little people somehow being much older than they ought to be, but more on me being an old woman later…).

¬†Coraline Audrey surprised us in the middle of our adoption process for Niko; she’s a precious blessing that we might have missed out on if it had been left up to us.¬† We are so thankful that God’s plans were bigger and better than ours.

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This little lovie makes us all laugh all day long.  She loves Delia with a ferocity that has worn her big sister down more than any of the other kids have managed to.  She is an irresistible force, and we are so blessed to have her in our family.

The next morning I woke up to this scene in honor of my birthday:

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I didn’t cook a single meal all day thanks to my capable little sous chefs!

It was a pretty ordinary day.¬† We had a lot of school to work through since we’d been at a birthday party the day before for some friends.¬† I had a pretty bad cold (still do!)¬† But at the end of the day my heart echoed the sentiments of Mary Ingalls on a birthday episode of Little House on the Prairie we happened to watch this week.¬† Recently left blind by scarlet fever, she sat surrounded by family and friends, poised to blow out her birthday candles.¬† “Make a wish!” they all chorused.

“I don’t know what to wish for,” she beamed. “I already have everything I could ever want right here!”

And so it is with me.¬† My days are often hard, filled with unpleasant smells and difficult behavior.¬† I don’t get a lot of quiet moments (which is why I’m blogging so rarely and way past my bedtime tonight!), but when I have them, I have a deep abiding contentment with my life.¬† I can’t think of a single thing I’d change or a single thing I’d wish for.

The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.    РPsalm 16:6

 

Name Verses for the Newbies

Ahem. ¬†That is, the last three¬†newbies. ¬†It seems that although we did choose verses to go with Niko’s and Delia’s names (as we did for our other children here and here), I never actually shared them, and somehow, that makes them seem a little less official. ¬†So, let’s officialize!

Nikolai (along with all its Nicholas kin) means “Victory of the people.” We’ve had fun using swords and knights and battles as his name theme because, well, he loves that stuff, but his verse is extra meaningful:
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:57 (ESV)

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This little man is¬†experiencing victory in his life! ¬†It has been a joy to watch him blossom in our home. ¬†He has come such a long way in two years and learned so much. ¬†His academic progress has been good, but more importantly, he is learning to be gentle and kind, to share, to put others first. ¬†These are such tough lessons for a little guy who came from a world where survival meant grabbing whatever you can get and manipulating to get as much as you can. ¬†He came to us very good at those skills. But, by God’s grace, Niko is slowly learning a better way, and it is a joy to watch God give him that victory!

The meaning of Delia’s name has so many layers. ¬†She is named Delphinia for the Delphinium flower, which was named for its resemblance to the dolphin, which itself derives its name from delphus, the Greek word for “womb.”

We have chosen this verse for her:

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. ¬†I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. ¬†Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 139:13-14 (ESV)

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Again, I love this verse for her for so many reasons. ¬†I love that even though it wasn’t my womb our precious daughter was knitted together in, these words are every bit as true for her. ¬†God had a plan and a purpose for her life, and we are privileged to be a part of it.

I also love the reminder that she is wonderfully made. ¬†Our Delia is an unusual little girl, but God made her! ¬†He did not make a mistake in making her as He did. ¬†Although she has, no doubt, been shaped in part by her circumstances, God’s works are wonderful (my soul¬†does¬†know it well!), and He is not finished with this little lady yet!

I was spoiled for choice with Annis’s verse. ¬†Annis, like Agnes, means “pure” or “chaste”, and there are so many good verses about purity! ¬†In the end, we chose an old favorite.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)

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This would be our prayer for our tiny, precious new girl.  We want her her to know and love the Lord and to train her mind to dwell on Him and that which pleases Him.  We want her to look for the pure, the lovely, the excellent and then pursue those things with all her heart.