Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Phoebe Mirabelle

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
Psalm 127:3

Phoebe Mirabelle Meade
born Tuesday, October 20
at 9:05 p.m.
weighed 8 pounds and 5 ounces
stretched to 21 inches in length

It has been two weeks since the arrival of our sweet Phoebe Pie (the nicknamed coined by Xander) and I'm thrilled to get back to the blog to make the announcement. :) It is difficult for me, because I really like the posts to be chronological and there were a couple of things that I wanted to post just before her birth and I didn't get to them. But it seemed silly to blog them now rather than satisfy the masses with pictures of the littlest lady in the house. So, enjoy those that I've posted below, they're a little hint of what we've been up to over the past 15 days. Primarily, we're trying to take breaks from holding and cuddling and loving on the new beauty just long enough to function as a family of five. It's been great!

October 20, Brian and I are at the hospital and it's time to have a baby! The nurse was kind enough to take a quick a picture of the two of us in between contractions. :) I love how excited Brian looks. I don't love how not flattering hospital gowns are.

Phoebe examines daddy. Daddy adores Phoebe.

Next day, first visitors, Great-Aunt LaVonne, Grandpa Larry, and Grandma Anna

Phoebe is quite comfortable in grandpa's arms.

she's getting cuter by the day. :)

taken during naptime

most adoring visitors: big sister and big brother. oh how they love Phoebe! I love this picture and the obvious genuine joy that Libby expresses as she gets to hold her baby sister for the first time. What a blessing to have siblings! I so love to watch them grow up together!

biggest surprise of the day: xander's adoration for phoebe. he just cannot get enough of her! as previously mentioned, he refers to her as Phoebe Pie, and he cannot stop talking to or cuddling with or kissing on her. it's easy to imagine him playing the role of the (over)protective big brother.

B-I-G smiles as he holds her for the first time

gazing on her beauty


special visitors!: Phoebe cuddles for the first time with mama's dear friend and phoebe's birthday buddy, brittany. sweet maren loves phoebe already and got to practice big sisterhood on our sweet babe. mares becomes the middle child in just a couple of short weeks! yay for phoebe's new friend!

i love maren patting her little head

three kiddos. ten years to the month after a couple of kids met and not much later became lovebirds. wow.

phoebe pie

poor daddy looks sleepy. this was just before heading home from the hospital.

at home from the hospital. phoebe is in the best place libby can think to put her.

xander joins in, libby's not as thrilled. but he is! (phoebe yawns, not screams.)

still, libby kinda wants her to herself, but xander is loving this moment with his sisters.

totally typical libby, mama's big big helper. just home from the hospital and she sets to work helping me unpack and clean up. what a blessing!

i begin to learn to juggle three.

i do not have it figured out, but i'm getting better already. :)

lesson: the more people you have in your family, the less likely you are to have "the perfect" family photo. not to shabby, but for phoebe's funny open mouth dozing. :)


she hearts daddy

hanging off my lap. don't worry, she's safe, it's just a weird angle. :)

cuddling. oh how sweet is cuddling with your new baby?!

uncle daniel meets his littlest niece. his other niece approves.

xander time

sweet dreams, my lady!

One bummer is that we have had several other visitors and don't have photos of them with Phoebe. This is a good reminder for me to take pics of grandma Shelley with Phoebe now, since she's here for her second visit and still, we have no photos! yikes! :)

Thanks so much to all of you who are rejoicing with us over our gift from the Lord and her arrival which was safe an delightful for both miss P and me. We so appreciate your prayers, checking in, cards, encouragement, gifts, meals, help, and on and on... thank you! We love you! and we will try to update the blog at least somewhat regularly so you can continue to watch the family grow, even from afar.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Countdown to Phoebe

Libby and Xander proudly display the paper chain we made with 50 links to count down to Phoebe's estimated arrival. The chain stretched almost perfectly from one end of the hall to the other.

The concept of time is a hard one for little ones, isn't it? We'll leave in about an hour, we did that last week, your baby sister is coming home in about 50 days... SO, to help with a visual and to build excitement for the arrival of our soon-to-come Phoebe, Libby and Xander and I made a paper chain with 50 links, counting down the last 50 days(ish) to her birth.

Well guess what - the chain is getting smaller! Daddy lifts the kids up to cut a link every night before bed and tonight, after the kiddos are all jammied up and the stories have been read, the songs have been sung, prayer has been lifted, my three loves will snip-snip a link and leave only 7 remaining.

The only problem is that I need a backup plan, because Libby and Xander both came later than expected and I anticipate that with Phoebe as well... I guess when the 20th comes and goes we'll start building a new chain to celebrate the "extra" days we have to prepare for her. :)

I snapped this picture last week, or the week before? My loves cut the chain before bed, and we're thrilled to see how short our wait is becoming! We can't wait to bring you home miss P!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Two Things I Love About You

alexander elliot meade
born October 10, 2007
weighing 8 pounds 11 ounces
stretching out to 21 and 3/4 inches in length
adored instantly by daddy, mama, and libby

Ten-Ten! Today's the day. My Alexander Elliot is two! Two years old. What a blessed two years they have been. Brian and I were changed in the most remarkable way on the day we were given our Elisabeth Adelaide, and then for the Lord to do it again with the gift of Xander - magnificent! Little man, you are adored by dad, mom, Libby, and even Barns. And in honor of the past two years and the delight you have brought your family and friends, I've put together a list -

Two Things I Love About You.

1. i love the sweet sweet way you look at me and say, "hi mama" when you wake up in the morning.

2. i love your oh so soft skin, especially on your cheeks and your little neck. (you're still my baby for a few more days, i can love that about you.)

Okay, two? that's silly. I have a few more.

3. i love the way you adore your big sister, repeat her to learn new expressions, giggle and play with her and miss her while she's gone.

4. i love how unbelievably agreeable you are. i cannot believe how agreeable you are.

5. i love that you are potty trained!

6. i love that you say "bye-bye barns, bye-bye house" when we leave, and that you exhale and murmer, "hooome" when we pull into the driveway.

7. i love your silly voice. your deep silly voice that you throw around to entertain us.

8. i love your memories of yellowstone.

9. i love that you love to sing, and you make up songs and make me make up songs.

10. i love that you were gifted to us, and that by the grace of our God we might be used to teach you his will and his ways and the wonder of his grace.

there is so much to love about you, sweet xander. your amazing manners (you have the best manners of anyone in the family), your fashion sense (you are a really well dressed kid ;), your thin but curly blond hair.... and more..... I hope you enjoyed these special days of celebration of your little life!

birthday cake before...

birthday cake after.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

IN! (the potty)

I can't believe I'm updating the blog with information about my baby's - er, big boy's - latest accomplishment... potty training. What a difficult and fun and sanctifying experience this has been!

It happened Friday night, two weeks ago. Xander clutched his diaper and told us "potty!" We looked for some clarification, "Do you need to go potty?" and he told us yes. We looked at each other, puzzled, and I asked Xander if he wanted to go sit on the potty and go. Yes again. Off we went, to the potty, but nothing happened.

A few minutes later, "potty!" Repeat. (including the part where nothing happened.)
A few minutes later, "potty!" We need a new plan of action. Daddy retrieved the little potty chair and we sat it out for the big boy who wanted to keep his diaper dry. Within a few minutes he sat on the potty, exclaimed, "uh oh! here it comes!" and with that, we were cheering over a soaked floor - and we were on the potty training roller coaster. oh my.

Now what? What do you do when your son tells you he needs to go potty, then proceeds to hold it in until he can get to the potty? Well, we decided that what we don't do is encourage him to go in his diaper. What we do do however, was trickier to determine. After all, is he really ready? He's not yet two, and everyone tells me to wait with boys until they're two and a half. Where did this come from? Was it a fluke? He's not supposed to potty train yet... etc. These thoughts and many more were flying through my brain. Let's not forget we are a few short weeks from Phoebe's arrival. I really had no intentions of tackling potty training before she came. My plan was to attempt it after the new year. Especially in light of our holiday travel plans. Won't it just be simpler to have Xander in a diaper, rather than stopping roadside?

Guess what. I didn't really get to decide. Trust me, that wasn't easy for me to swallow. Brian and I determined that we'd play Saturday by ear. If Xander kept it up, we'd train him, if he abandoned interest and didn't take to the potty after a good night's sleep, we'd drop it. We we were in no way desperate to get him out of diapers. At the same time, we did have a rare open weekend ahead of us - this just might work.

Saturday came and went and we learned a lot about our big boy. Primarily, he can hold it a long time. AND, he didn't want to go in his diaper. So, he had 3 successes on the potty, though he didn't really have them until he simply could not hold it any longer - as in, he'd proclaim "potty!" run and sit on the potty, and then nothing would happen, probably 10 times for every time he figured out how to relax and go. As it turns out, it's a tricky process for someone who has never really had to think about it before!

So, the weekend progressed, and the week, and little by little the little man got the hang of actually "going" on the potty, not just going to the potty when he had the urge. But it wasn't without struggle on my part. Doubt. Questioning. Desperation. Should I really be spending my days potty training him? Every success made me feel like I was digging myself deeper into a hole we couldn't climb out of, every accident made me doubt whether I should be training him at all. I was not sleeping well at night, exhausted during the day, losing my patience with the kids, constantly questioning whether I was doing the right thing, crying when Xander got off the potty without letting anything out, crying when he had a success, neglecting poor Libby who entertained herself for 2 days while I followed Xander around analyzing his every move and gesture for a clue as to what I should do with him. I was a mess!

Enter: the Lord. Oh, how thankful I am for the Bible Study I was working on for that week, and in particular a little section on trials. Finally it clicked, "this is a trial!" and oh for my perspective to change. For those of you who don't know me, I'm a planner. And for everything I don't plan, I still like to be in control of it - as in, I am choosing to not plan. This potty training experience didn't work quite like that. I did not get to plan, I did not get to pick a date to start and buy stickers and candies and start planting the seed in my baby's mind. I did not clear my schedule or pray about my intentions or plans for the coming week of training. Nope, I just got slapped in the face with a kid who decided he wanted to go on the potty. And boy did I need it - I needed the reminder that I am not in control, but I am under the charge of a sovereign Lord who is providentially working for my benefit (Romans 8:28-29 -- And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.), and who allows me various trials, again for my benefit (James 1:2-4 -- Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.) And I needed practice, practice dealing with trials, because I know that more will come.

And oh how the Lord provides what we need. Poor Xander sat on the potty Tuesday morning, and I was convinced he needed to go, and that it would be best to keep him on the potty until we had a success. So I sat with him as he begged me to get down, "all done, mama!" he would proclaim. No, Xander, let's keep trying... we'd read, we'd sing, we'd chat, he'd try to charm me and convince me to let him get off the potty. Finally, in his cutest voice (that often melts me) he pointed to his thumb the way he'd been taught in the church nursery and said, "be patient."

Tears flowed, and they weren't X's this time. :) The Lord convicted me of my impatience with my sweet boy, by using words he scarcely understands but I'd helped him memorize.

Later, while chatting on the phone with my dear sister-in-law I confessed that I was struggling with potty training and decision-making and through her wise counsel I realized that I was measuring success in entirely the wrong light. Rather than accidents v. potty successes, I needed to be evaluating myself through the trial - was I keeping a quiet spirit? Was I patient with my kids? Was I loving? Was I forbearing? Was I quick to confess my sins and repent? Was I grumbling and complaining? no, no, no, no, no, yes....

So, not nearly quickly enough, but certainly not too late, I cried out to the Lord for help - patience, wisdom, joy in making difficult decisions in raising my kids... he answered.

The following days were so much better. Not only did Xander begin to really get the hang of using the potty, but my focus had changed from keeping undies dry to glorifying the Lord in my duty as a mother. I think my husband and kids would agree that I was a lot more pleasant to be around the latter part of the week. :) Praise the Lord for his word that is sharper than any double edged sword! And, praise the Lord for my husband, who came home from work at the end of the day and picked up where I left off, offering me a much needed break, encouragement, steadfastness where I was faltering... He has been such a great and godly leader through this process and I am so blessed to have him leading our family!

In the meantime, Xander is almost a potty pro. He's recently become much more successful at poopie in the potty (that's tricky for little ones, isn't it?). I think ice cream and cookies had something to do with his willingness to learn. :) Once I feel confident in his mastery of this, it will be a totally new world we live in... until I start diapering that cute tiny new little bottom I'm about to blessed with. :)

And here he is, my little man, cuter than anything in his little undies (really, I don't know of much that is cuter than a little one in their undies, sorry, it's just true) enjoying a little bowl of ice cream after a big success. And would you believe, that a couple weeks before his second birthday and a couple weeks before the arrival of his baby sister, Alexander Elliot is potty trained? yowza.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

that's my baby big boy

baby baby is a big boy. how can this be? i mean look at him! he's a baby! isn't he?
no. no, no, no. he's a big boy. and he's slapping me in the face with it every day. but, it feels pretty good. :)

a couple of weeks ago we got to put our little man in a big boy bed. what a fun day! with the huskers on the radio in the background, daddy put little man's bed together and we were all thrilled with the results. with the disassembly of the crib, xander's nursery was transformed to a little boy bedroom. i've made some changes in his room since that night, his first night in his big bed, and there are still more i'd like to accomplish in there. i'll show you pics soon enough.

what a joy, what a privilege, to be entrusted with our xander-- his silly voices, his sweet affection for his family and friends, his agreeable personality, his wispy hair (when will you get your hair?!), his mama's taste for junk food, his desire to one-two-three-JUMP off of anything and everything... alexander elliot, we love and adore you and praise God for giving you to us to raise up for His glory. you have been such a blessing to our family! and no jumping off the bed!!!

oh, and let me mention (i LOVE this), when he wakes up and calls for mama ("mama come...") i walk into the room and his face lights up and he asks, "i be-be-a excused?" yes, my love, you may be excused. after you give me some kisses. :)

mending daddy

daddy has a cold. he's been fighting it for a couple of days and his sweet girl just wants him better. so, she did what she does so well, she wrote him a letter. she LOVES to write letters, and this is, perhaps, one of her sweetest. if she can do it through love, she'll have daddy on the mend in no time.

Daddy, I hop u r felen bedr tumro
I rile love u love u love u
Love Libby Frum Libby
Too Daddy

~hope you can read 4-year-old~ :)

Daddy, I hope you are feeling better tomorrow
I really love you love you love you
Love Libby From Libby
To Daddy

Friday, September 11, 2009

...and she's off...

I had several "markers" in my little mind over the past few months. Little things that were scheduled to happen in our lives that would serve as my mental timeline as I excitedly count down to the arrival of our sweet little Phoebe. The following is one of those events, but oh, it's so much more.

My B-A-B-Y is now going to preschool. Now, I'm fully aware that this isn't groundbreaking news for many of you. Some kids go to school at 3, some go to daycare even younger. But for me, this is a big deal! I have spent every single day over the past 4.5 years, with the exception of maybe...15 days, with my sweet Elisabeth Adelaide. And now, she's GONE! (three days a week, for 2.5 hours a day). I'm handling it gracefully.

Praise the Lord, the transition has been yet another easy one. We have been blessed with kids that seem to adapt easily to change, and Libby's transition to preschool was no exception. For a couple weeks before school started she would occasionally mention to me, in passing, that she
was thirsty and she was also not so sure about preschool. Or, she has to go to the restroom, and
she's not so sure about preschool. I assured her she'd be ready when the time came. Thankfully, I was right.

The Thursday night before school started we attended the orientation and that was the best thing for her. She's pictured below, standing by her name near her classroom. We got to go show the school to daddy (he hadn't been able to visit when Libby and I went last year to decide if this was the place for us), refresh our memories about the great toys in the classrooms, confirm our recollection - yes, there is a white piano with a rainbow on it, acquaint ourselves with Mrs. A and Mrs. H, AND have cookies and punch. What a night!

Her first day of school was a Wednesday, and Wednesdays are busy for us during the school
year. This first day of school was also my first day of fall term Bible study, therefore Libby's first day of Kids' Club this fall (her all-time favorite place to be, where she gets to hang with her besties and learn about the Lord), and her first day back at Children's Truth Academy where she gets more excellent teaching in the Word. Yes, busy day. But, it went smoothly! Bible Study/Kids' Club, home for a quick lunch, a change of clothes, photo shoot, preschool, home for some downtime, dinner, and off to CTA. phew.

While we were finishing up our lunch, and quickly changing her clothes (I had dressed her for fall in the morning, and we were both sweating by noon... I think I was sweating from the stress, she
was suffering the effects of a sweater dress on an 80 degree day...) anyway, while we were getting dressed Libby pronounced her brilliant idea. "I KNOW, MOM! Let's take some pictures
outside in front of the PERFECT bush." I had to agree. We have a nice bush by the front door, and what a great place to take the quintessential first-day-of-school pics! As she buckled her shoes and headed out the door, it became clear that Libby was headed out to scour our property, perhaps the neighborhood, for the perfect bush. Look! I pointed out the bush by the front door. This bush is perfect! Thankfully, she agreed. And she wouldn't have if it hadn't been perfect. She's not that type. :)

Xander got to pose with his big sister, who he just adores. The two of them have such a great
time together, and laugh so hard. It's just beautiful. He was so sweet after we dropped Libby off for the first time. He asked repeatedly on the drive home, "where bibby?" She's at school. "oh." "mom? where bibby?" I think he really meant, "what's school?" but the point was, he couldn't understand why we had left his bibby behind and were headed home without her.

Well, here I asked her to turn to the side so we could see her backpack. She's got the pose.

And before I knew it we were zipping off to school, and I was walking her down the hall and giving her little hand to Mrs. H. Libby was SO excited. She was all smiles, gave me hugs and kisses, did the same for Xander, then without a bit of hesitation she cheerfully bid me goodbye, told me she loved me, and told me to have fun at home without her.

I made sure to be early to pick her up so I could take a picture of her coming out of her classroom, I suspected the smiling face. I think she looks just beautiful, and grown up, and relieved. :) She couldn't wait to tell me about her day, and ask me about mine. Mind you, it'd
been 2.5 hours.

"SO, how was Xander's nap?"
"it was good..."
"How long did he sleep?"
"about two hours"
"Well, that's good! And what did you do while he was napping?"
"oh, I tried to rest, but mainly I missed you while you were gone!"
"Oh mom! I didn't miss you! I had a GREAT time!"

I love you Libby-my-love. I'm so thankful you can go to a great school and love every minute of it. And I'm so thankful for the 4.5 years I got to have you all to myself. I loved every moment and am clinging to those I still have to enjoy before *gulp* kindergarten.