2021 Birthday Post 2 of 13: Juniper

Our beautiful Juniper Lucy burst onto the scene 12 years ago in my first of two amazing homebirths. She surprised everyone in the room by weighing in at 10 lbs 6 oz, and she was 3 days early!

Junie was the baby of our “original four”, and yet no one ever really remembers her being a baby. She has always been wise and mature beyond her years.

There is a famous story of June, just after her first birthday, trying to fix our broken heating vent. Seeing it was missing a screw, she crawled around the corner, through the living room and into the guest room where she remembered seeing a bucket of odd screws. She chose one and crawled all the way back, where we found her trying to replace the missing screw.

Nowadays, she is the organizer of the family. She is one of our only naturally tidy children, though they all do their part when needed. She is also our Great Finder of Lost Things, with an uncanny knack for locating missing schoolbooks, remotes, and cell phones, usually in the very first place she looks.

She is a bit of a perfectionist in everything she does: her baking, crocheting, cross-stitching, and drawing are all meticulously beautiful.

She is my most faithful running buddy, which is gracious of her, since she would naturally be quite a bit faster than I am. I’ve taken to telling passing strangers on our runs who comment on how far ahead she is that I’m about to lap her. The truth is that with every run she’s getting faster and I’m getting older!

This lovely girl will succeed in whatever she sets her mind to. She has said for several years that she’d like to be a missionary. In particular, she has a heart for Russia, and has been learning the language on Duolingo. But who knows how the Lord will direct her steps? I can’t wait to see!

Happy birthday, Juniper. We love you so, so much!

2021 Birthday Post 1 of 13: Romilly

Once upon a time, I had time to blog about every little thing. My posts were (occasionally) deep and reflective, but most of all: frequent! Over time, as our family grew and life became busy, my blogging spaced out a bit to the point that it mainly consisted of baby and adoption announcements.

As the kids and I were discussing what my birthday crochet theme for the year should be, I began trying to find an escape route. Something equally thoughtful and meaningful I could do for each child that wouldn’t take quite so many hours to prepare. Romilly reminded me that I used to do a blog post for each child on their birthday, and suggested I resurrect the idea for 2021. I loved the idea! I have long been wanting to give a snapshot of what each of my amazing kiddos is up to, and this would give me the perfect excuse to brag on them. (At some point, we also came up with a crochet theme for the year. I’m not sure what happened there.)

So, without further ado, let me tell you about our first birthday girl of 2021 (and every year!) Romilly Alice.

Romilly turns 15 today. Actually, fun fact: she turned 15 at 9:20 pm the night before her birthday. Because she was born at 2:20 am Greenwich Mean Time in the UK, she has the unusual distinction of having her birth *time* not being on her birth *day* when we are in the US, which we almost always are.

Our beautiful second-born daughter spends her days reading, writing, drawing, running, crocheting, and catering to Freya’s every whim. I mentioned her first novel, The Land of Elorien, in a previous post. While she is working on getting that edited and worked into publishable form, she is also well into writing her second novel. She’s also working on an illustrated children’s book about a family of were-creatures, and she blogs at www.theyoungpages.com/romillys_blog/ (and more often than I do at that!)

She has developed an interest in Myers-Briggs personality types (she is an INTP, I think?) (Edit: INTJ! How could I forget the J?!) Having analyzed everyone in the family old enough to test, she often offers us little insightful tidbits about ourselves, like, “hey, dad, did you know you have the personality type most likely to drink multiple cups of tea a day?” It’s a little eerie!

She has her dad’s extremely dry sense of humor and analytical mind, along with a creative flair we don’t quite know where she got. She thinks and feels deeply.

She has an aversion to embedded things, like teeth and eyeballs and little pebbles in concrete, that reminds us that she is still the same quirky little girl who could only wear one certain pair of furry crocs and was terrified of raised playground equipment for years.

We are ever amazed at who that little girl is growing into: this funny, smart, articulate, talented, beautiful young woman. Maybe she’ll be a vet, or an architect, or a writer, or an artist. Definitely not a teacher, she says, although she has a regular gig helping Lewis and Teddy with their math, and she’s good at that, too, so we’ll see.

Happy birthday, Ro (although she doesn’t want to be called Ro anymore, and definitely not Ro-ro, or Rombelina, or Toodle.). I am so blessed to be your mom, and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for you!

One Joyous Day

On the one day of Christmas, this stuff entered our house:

12 pairs of gloves,

11 Pez dispensers,

10 lego sets,

9 balloon creations,

8 scented play-dohs,

7 nesting dolls,

6 bags of marbles,

5 pairs of jeans!

4 pencil sharpeners,

3 crocheted wise men,

2 off-brand Fitbits,

And a mouse named Huckleberry!

* * * * *

But these weren’t the real gifts this Christmas. The story that I can’t begin to quantify is one of peace and thoughtfulness on Christmas day. While some recent Christmases have felt a little bit rushed and chaotic, sprinkled with occasional jealousies and disappointments, this Christmas felt warm and relaxed. Any mom (and especially any adoptive mom) will tell you what a rare and precious gift that is! Here were some of my favorite highlights of Christmas 2020:

  • Everyone pausing on Christmas morning, after only one or two gifts had been opened, to listen to Trevor reading Freya the story book Pippa had written for her.
  • Coraline running upstairs the moment she saw she had received a smart watch (before even opening it) to get Teddy her old watch. I think he was almost as excited about his new watch as she was about hers!
  • Delia having a happy day on Christmas. Because she came home just a week before Christmas seven years ago, this can be a tough and emotional time of year for her. The two weeks before Christmas were rough. Lots of big feelings and trying to retreat into herself. But on the day, she was happy and peaceful. Annis helped her sing along to her new mp3 player. She had a good day, which is something we never take for granted.
  • Niko confiding in me privately and excitedly that he knew the friend he crocheted an army tank for had loved it, even though that friend didn’t give a hugely excited reaction on opening it. (And he was right!)
  • Time with family near and far.
  • Every moment of this boy’s first Christmas. He still feels like such a miracle!
One happy boy and one sleepy one 🙂
  • My six big kids totally surprising me with a beautiful crocheted nativity set! Apparently there were quite a number of near misses over the last couple of weeks, but I was oblivious enough in the busy-ness of Christmas prep to keep the secret safe!

I could go on and on. Despite two not-fully-functional vehicles and at least four Christmas packages that haven’t arrived yet, this Christmas may go down in Young family history as the best ever. It was a perfect storm of happy, thankful kids that doesn’t happen every day and can only really be explained as a gift from God.

I wish you all joy and peace this Christmas season and in the year to come!

The Thankfullest Thursday

This morning began with a slightly rainy Thanksgiving 5-mile run with our six “big kids” and my sister’s family and a few friends. If you had told me a couple of years ago that I would ever voluntarily leave my home at 8 am on Thanksgiving morning to run 5 miles in the rain, I’m not sure I would have believed you. And yet, amazingly, we all did, and enjoyed it as well! I still have a bit of a love-hate relationship with running, but increasingly the love is winning. I love the energy I have for my kids now, the feeling of pushing myself to do something hard, the fresh air and time to think. I’m not sure I will ever be the marathon (or even half-marathon) type, but I’ve settled into a happy little groove with running, and I’m thankful for that.

I’m thankful for kids that willingly helped peel sweet potatoes even after running five miles in the rain, and for my mama who watched the rest of the gang at home this morning and had all the regular potatoes peeled before we even got back.

Thanksgiving dinner was smaller this year without our usual out-of-state cousins, but it was joyful nonetheless.

I’m thankful to be surrounded on all sides by family who truly see our children for the blessings they are, no matter how many come along.

I’m thankful for laughter and fun as we draw near the end of the stangest year of all of our lives.

(These were our “serious Puritan faces”, about which it was said, “Mommy’s serious face looks silly, but Daddy’s looks real!” Truth.)

Above all, I am thankful for the God who has given all of these good gifts. He becomes realer and truer to me the longer I live and walk with Him, and this year has been no exception. Happy Thanksgiving!

Routine and Refreshment

We are now over two months into our new school year with everyone home, and a good six weeks into a full load of necessary therapies. By God’s grace, everything is fitting!

When Delia’s ABA therapy abruptly ended on March 13th, we had no idea that it would be seven months until they reopened for home visits. This time has been tougher on Delia than anyone else in our family. While she certainly didn’t mind the break, after a couple months of limited accountability and engagement, the cracks began to show. She retreated into herself and spent her days engaging as little as we would let her get away with over the summer. It was time to get back to business.

The day after I emailed to say that we would be willing to drive (almost an hour each way) to the therapy center for one session a week, they called me to say they had just reopened for home visits. Delia is now receiving 12 hours a week of much-needed therapy, all without interrupting anyone else’s school day. Although there has definitely been an adjustment period for her, it has been an incredible blessing to get back to this with her.

Lewis and Teddy are currently (as in, right now as I type this!) receiving private speech therapy twice a week, which is significantly more than they received in school. I’m excited to see how far they will go with this more intense, customized therapy. They are both bright and enthusiastic, and they love coming here. Also, I get an hour to myself in my car, which is just… ahhhh….

Everyone else is doing well, too. Pippa and Ro are both almost completely independent with their school, in 11th and 9th grades respectively. Pippa is also learning to drive and preparing to take the SATs in the spring, and Ro is working on editing the 470-page fantasy novel she wrote mostly during quarantine. Niko, Bea, and Junie (and Delia, when she’s available) are in “Trevor’s class” learning about the history of science this year, while I am teaching early American history to the younger set: Coraline, Annis, Teddy, and Lewis. After lunch we try to have some structured reading and math time for the kiddos that are less-self-directed. Everyone is making progress in their own way. Annis, 6, has become a great little reader and spends much of her time writing little stories. If I don’t keep an eye on her, actual school work can sometimes slip off her radar from time to time.

Annis has now written six books in her series “Annis’s Concerns”. She absolutely cracks us up.

Verity, 4, has been learning her letters and numbers, and Freya, 2, is talking up a storm and slowly getting the hang of potty training. Milo, 4 months!, continues to be a delicious little smoosh who makes everyone around him feel happy.

About a month ago, we got to have a wonderful week long break as a family. We began with 3 nights of tent camping with a few other homeschooling families. Trevor find himself unexpectedly in charge of leading a couple of hikes for a larger than usual number of kids. He seems to be a bit of a pied piper! All lost and wandering children were eventually found and returned to their parents 🙂

We spent the next three nights, just the fifteen of us, in a delightful little rental house in a state park. The first full day was rainy, which was just perfect. Trevor took a small but intrepid contingent on a very wet hike, while most of us stayed home reading, crocheting, doing crossword puzzles (so addictive! I had no idea!) and sipping tea. The next day was beautiful, so we explored some of the local attractions, including Gravity Hill, where objects, including our 15-passenger van, appear to roll uphill! We were unconvinced at first, but the second location we tried certainly did what it said on the tin!

The final leg of our trip saw us at the Weavers’ homestead in central PA. It was cold camping for most of the kids, but Trevor and I and the little ones were fortunate enough to get a spot inside the house. It was the perfect end to a perfect week, a familiar home away from home with dear friends.

As we enter this season of thankfulness, I find myself having more to be thankful for than I can even put into words. Life is good right now. We seem to be, for the moment, finding that perfect balance of busy-ness and calm. I’m so aware that this season of still having little ones and also having everyone all under one roof will be over before I know it, and I am savoring every moment.

On Naming Milo

It occurred to me in thinking about how to share Milo’s name story that I have only ever told you half of each of our name stories. Since we have never (except with Freya, by accident) found out what we were having before the birth, we have had to choose a boy name as well as a girl name for each one. Some have asked me if we’ve kept the same “boy name” in reserve for all of our babies. I wish I could tell you it was that simple. In fact, the boy half of the name story has almost always been the more dramatic and contentious, and this time was no exception.

So let me start you at the very beginning of our naming journey. Pippa would have been Miles had she been a boy. And that was probably the last time we agreed easily on a boy name. For Ro, Bea, and June, we remained gridlocked until the bitter end, me pushing for the nickname Gus with any and every full name option under the sun, and Trevor loving Barnaby.

By the time we were naming Coraline’s boy alter ego, there were a few more names on the table, but we had kind of settled into a routine of not taking the boy name discussions quite as seriously as the girl ones. In fact, Trevor admitted after she was born that he didn’t really like the name he had agreed to (Felix) but was sure enough that it wouldn’t matter that he was willing to risk it.

And so it went with them all until this pregnancy, which definitely felt (boyishly) different to both of us.

For almost all of our children, the one guiding force in naming them has been the honor name. We have gotten more creative with this over the years, and we have increasingly been trying to name each baby after more than one person as it has seemed increasingly likely to be our last baby. (See: Freya Poppy, who was named after her grandad Peter GodFREY, and her POP-pop.)

This time we hoped to honor as many of the three remaining great-grandfathers as possible. Teddy’s middle name, Merit, was my maternal grandfather’s middle, which left my father’s father (Harvey Asa Gilbert) and Trevor’s two grandfathers (Peter Young and William Munro). Remarkably, we came up several girl combos that successfully nodded to all three!

There was much brainstorming on the boy front. Names were dissected and reattached in every possible way, and early on a namey friend suggested Walter as a combo of William and Peter. I loved it, especially because Walter was one of my favorite characters in the Anne of Green Gables series.

Very early in the pregnancy, we had a scare that sent us to the emergency room. I thought I was likely losing the baby. I asked Trevor if he’d be up for one last name discussion while we were waiting in the ER, and he happily obliged. It was then that I first suggested Walter, which we both really liked and strongly considered as a first name. Thankfully, we saw a happy little heartbeat that night, and all continued to be well. And there were many, MANY more name discussions.

I know you will believe me that this name-obsessed girl exhausted every possible way to honor all three grandfathers, but at the end of the day, after fifteen years, I really still just wanted a Gus. By about the halfway point, we abandoned all the name acrobatics and agreed on a combo from my original list that only honored one of the grandfathers, but it got me my Gus. With that settled, I stuck a pin in it and focused on girl names for a few months.

I’m not sure what shifted in Trevor’s mind about two months before Milo was born, but he suddenly seemed to realize that the baby might actually be a boy and that he needed to pay more attention to the boy name situation. On closer scrutiny, he didn’t think he could live with the name we’d chosen. I may or may not have cried. Pregnancy hormones and all.

We avoided the subject for a couple weeks, but time was short, so we needed to get back on the horse. I sent Trevor back to my original list of five or so boy names I had written down (the same one that HE had chosen our first option from, I might add).

He chose Milo, and happily, I realized it was my favorite of the remaining names, too. I loved the simplicity of a name that needed no nickname, no explanations, no engineering to get all the pieces to fit. I loved that Milo, the Latin form of Miles, took us right back to the beginning of our boy name story and the name that Pippa would have been. Our name style has changed over the years, but apparently not that much!

Milo’s middle name honors his Daddy’s two grandfathers and will always remind me of that night in the ER when I thought I was losing him and had him graciously given back to me.

Onesie compliments of his gran and grandad in England.

And that is how the Youngs name a boy completely from scratch. I told you there would be drama!

(If anyone is curious and has a LOT of free time, I’ll link the other name stories here. Maybe get yourself a nice cup of coffee first! Pippa, Romilly, Beatrix and Juniper share one post here. Then click each name to read stories for Coraline, Niko, Delia, Annis, Lewis, Verity, Teddy, and Freya.

How He Came

A caveat: I record my birth stories mainly for my own memory (because I never think I’ll forget, but I do) and also for people out there who just enjoy birth stories. (I do!) So, it’s long and it’s probably more detailed than it needs to be, but hey, now you’ve been warned 🙂

I had very high hopes for Milo’s birth. Freya’s pregnancy and delivery were rough (you can read her birth story here), but this pregnancy had been so different. I started the pregnancy 35 lbs lighter and had eaten well and exercised right till the end. My blood pressure had not been an issue, my blood sugars were beautiful. I passed all of my geriatric mom hurdles with flying colors and felt like quite the star patient of my new midwife office (my beloved Barbara retired a couple months after Freya was born).

That is, until my 38 week appointment. My blood pressure was only a little bit high, but high enough that they ordered bloodwork to check for preeclampsia (nope) and told me to keep an eye on my BP at home. I was told to call if it got higher than 145/95 (either top or bottom number reaching those thresholds). At home, it behaved nicely for the next couple days.

Two days later at a routine non-stress test to monitor baby’s heart rate and movement, my BP was 140/86. She rechecked me a few minutes later and the systolic was 142. Both were below my threshold, so I wasn’t worried, but I could tell the nurse was. She consulted the doctor and then delivered the news I was hoping not to hear this time: I needed to be induced for high blood pressure. Again. Despite all my healthy eating and exercising. I wasn’t going to get to labor naturally at home in my bath tub and get to the hospital just in time like the good old days.

I shed a few tears at the sudden change of plans and at the realization that I wasn’t going to get to pack my own hospital bag or kiss my babies goodbye before embarking on this ordeal. Then I rallied, called Trevor, and drove myself to the other side of the hospital to check myself into labor and delivery.

Once I was settled in my air-conditioned room with lovely nurses chatting with me, I began to remember some of the benefits of an induction. No parenting between contractions, no playing the when-is-it-time-to-go-in game (which always happens awkwardly in the middle of the night!). Just a comfortable room with a TV and some extended date time with Trevor.

I was swabbed for COVID (negative!), which was not as terrible as I had feared, although the swab was certainly long enough to reach right into my brain! I was pleasantly distracted from getting my IV inserted by the nurse on my left by having to list all my children’s birth dates for the nurse on my right. I breathed a sigh of relief once all that was done, and when Trevor arrived a couple hours later with Chick-fil-A, I felt excited to get started on having a baby.

My midwife (Kerith was my midwife for that first afternoon, isn’t that a beautiful name?!) suggested skipping the first medication I had had with Freya’s induction (cervadil) since I was already very slightly dilated, and starting with a stronger oral med (cytotec). I remarked happily (but mostly kiddingly) to Trevor that that should mean a 12-hour-shorter labor!

I felt mild contractions from the cytotec, but I was still mostly able to sleep through that first night, and when I woke up I had progressed from 1 to 2 cm. We started pitocin that morning at around 10. I was allowed to eat breakfast since things weren’t super far along yet. (And since I had told every nurse and midwife since we arrived on Wednesday afternoon not to expect a baby before Friday based on my previous labors!)

That day was mostly spent passing the time in between very noticeable but manageable contractions. We watched some TV, played on our phones, chatted. I even crocheted a little. Around 3 we video chatted with the kids, and I was still able to fake smile through contractions well enough to fool all but the most observant. We thought maybe we’d chat again later that evening.

I skipped lunch in favor of some snacks, but by dinner time I was hungry and still only 3 cm as of my most recent check, so they let me eat a proper meal.

After dinner I settled into some hard, strong, regular contractions that felt like they were really doing something. There was no way I was going to have that second video call with the kids. I put on some music and got into my zone for an hour or two. Trevor and I both sensed that things were getting close, but then…

At 7pm, the shifts changed. A new midwife (Pat) and the nurse team from the previous night (Lisa and Taylor) came in in a flurry of activity and introduced themselves . We picked up that there were several other moms close to delivering (including two sets of twin moms!) and something in me seemed to switch off. It wasn’t my turn yet.

My contractions spaced out a bit and became less intense. For a while I didn’t mind the break. Trevor took a nap in my bed while I labored in a chair. But by the time midnight rolled around and nothing much was happening, I was frustrated and ready to make some progress again.

Pat the midwife checked me, and I was 7 cm. Those hard contractions had been doing something after all! But at this point, my body wasn’t responding as well to the pitocin any more. We both remembered from Freya’s labor that the pitocin receptors get used up after too many hours of pitocin and they need to be flushed in order for the body to respond properly again. (I was skeptical of this last time, but apparently it is a real thing!) The midwife suggested switching it off completely at 1 am and switching it back on at 2 to have a baby.

At this point, although my contractions were weak, they felt like transition contractions, like it was *almost* go time. I agreed to the switch-off plan, but secretly thought my labor might just keep ticking along. It didn’t! With the pitocin off, I had two or three more weak contractions, and then absolutely nothing.

I’m not quite sure why, but this made me feel panicked. Like, that the baby might be trying to be born, but we had just switched off the vehicle that could make it happen. It was so strange to feel so close to giving birth and then suddenly be not at all in labor. We called Pat back into the room, and she listened to my concerns and hooked me back up to the monitor.

She reassured me that baby was fine, and we restarted pitocin at a little after 2am as planned.

They set me at a low dose, so although the contractions again felt *almost* like pushing contractions, they were sometimes ten or more minutes apart, intense but not quite strong enough to push with. It was a strange part of labor to be stuck at. With every contraction, she asked if I felt the urge to push. “I don’t know. Sort of?”

We also saw during this time that baby’s heart rate was dropping during contractions, which I don’t remember ever happening with my previous births (although for most of them I wasn’t hooked up to continuous monitoring.) It scared me, and I remember thinking (wishing, maybe?) that I might at any moment be whisked away for a c-section. I felt that my labor was never going to end, and at the same time, my old familiar fear of pushing haunted me.

Finally, at around 4, Pat suggested breaking my water. She really thought that would progress things quickly and I’d have my baby in no time. I think she was more nervous about the heart decelerations than she let on, and I am thankful in hindsight for her good poker face.

This was when things got exciting. I was lying on my side in my (state of the art, fancy, convertible, just-for-giving-birth-in) bed when she broke my water, which was the position I fully expected to give birth in. This was at 4:41 am.

On my very next contraction, I felt the familiar urge to push that had eluded me for so long. Suddenly Pat sprang into action, frantically instructing the nurses to remove the bottom part of the bed and raise the whole bed up, so she could deliver the baby without bending down (bad back, apparently). Just moments later on the second contraction, I was pushing and there was no stopping me.

Some of the events here I am only aware of because Trevor told me afterwards, but we have now pieced together enough of Milo’s actual birth to perform a very entertaining reenactment using our living room chair with the ottoman playing the part of the removable piece of the delivery bed.

I was lying on the crack of the removable piece when Pat ordered it to be dropped out from under me, so I scrambled (while giving birth, remember!) to scooch myself backwards onto the part of the bed that was staying put, while holding onto the arm supports for dear life. Then Pat told the nurses to raise the foot supports and get my legs up. I have never liked this position and vehemently told them no. The nurse on my left listened to me and stopped, but the one on my right kept trying to get my leg up.

Meanwhile, baby! Pat was desperately trying to encourage me to slow down and not push so hard, but I saw my window of escape and I was not to be reasoned with. I hated the pushing, but I knew it meant the end and my baby.

Milo came flying into the world on a moving table, caught (Trevor says rather precariously, midflight) by a very surprised midwife who apparently didn’t really expect breaking my water to work quite so quickly. He arrived at 4:53 AM, 12 minutes after my water was broken and exactly 12 hours to the minute later than the time Freya was born, just as I had predicted.

There was an immediate chorus of “it’s a boy!” I laughed and cried and thanked Jesus aloud and possibly even quoted some Scripture. Although we had both really felt strongly that he might be a boy, hearing those words still came as such a complete shock. Trevor was very quiet and serious for a while after he was born (I discovered later that this mainly because he had just watched them nearly drop first me and then Milo on the floor, and maybe only a little bit because we had actually had a boy this time.) Meanwhile I was raised as high as the bed would go to receive the couple of stitches I needed. I’m sure I was about four feet off the ground. I do believe we saw this magical bed perform just about every function in its repertoire!

Despite a rather frantic few moments at the end, I truly loved the team that brought Milo into the world. In the aftermath of his birth, the room was aglow with warm laughter and chatting and excitement. A nurse from a previous shift even stopped by to show me the prediction she had jotted down on a napkin the day before: “male”!

He latched on well right away, and we had a long sweet cuddle before they borrowed him to clean and weigh him. I know it didn’t feel it at the time (maybe it never does?) but I look back on his birth already with such fondness. It wasn’t the birth I thought I wanted, but it was just the right story for him.

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.


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 😉

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 🙂

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

Joy and peace to you in these uncertain times!