Wednesday, November 21, 2012

emmy ellamae

She's here!  And as I write this, she is already 11 days old!  Emmy was born at 9:10pm on November 9, two days past her due date.  She was my smallest baby, 8 pounds and 1 ounce, 20.5 inches long.  She is a gift from God.  I feel like there is so much to be said about her so I'm going to break it down into categories... her birth, her family, and Emmy herself.

The Birth of Emmy.
I was induced at 12:30.  They got the pitocen going and therefore the contractions.  For a few hours, I felt nothing but apparently I was having quite frequent contractions all along.  At 5:00, my doctor came to break my water.  Contractions picked up and at 7, I got the epidural.  I hate getting it done but...ahh, it's so wonderful to be able to relax while waiting for the baby.  The nurse checked me around 7:30 and I was at 6cms.  An hour and a half later, she asked if I was feeling any pressure to push and I wasn't.  But she checked me out again and I was at 10cms!  Ready to push.  I pushed twice and in about a minute, Emmy was out!  They laid her on my chest and she cried for only just a second.  And even when they took her away to check her out, she just laid there so nice, looking around.  All throughout my hospital stay, the nurses commented on how pleasant she is!  Just the temperment we specifically ordered for our fourth child!

Emmy's Family.
We are all smitten with Emmy, just smitten :)  Jordan had gone home that night and in the morning, after stopping to pick up flowers for me (ahhhh, love that man!) he arrived with the kids.  The kids had no idea that I had even had her yet so they were excited when they came into my room and found me with the new baby.  Reflecting on my past deliveries, introducing one sibling to another is definately a highlight!  Each of the kids were eager to hold Emmy and they all did great with her.  And the love for Emmy has only grown in the 10 days since then.  Natalie holds Emmy everyday in the morning before school and it's the first thing she does when she gets home.  Ruby holds Emmy all throughout the day, stroking her all over and talking in her softest, sweetest baby voice.  Charlie holds Emmy a few times a day and is also very gentle with her.  They are all so attentive to her and eager to help me with anything that concerns Emmy. 

Our little sweetheart.  She is just so beautiful.  I forget each time how much I adore newborn babies.  So far, Emmy has been a great sleeper.  The first week, I had only been getting up with Emmy once to feed her and maybe a time or two to soothe her little whimpers.  But so far this week, she's been getting me up a few times a night.  I think she just loves to be cuddled with because that's what I do and she's off to sleep again.  She gets held a lot around here!  She's also so strong!  She rolled over from her stomach to her back today and she's only 11 days old!  She's starting to be awake more often and I love to just stare at her as she checks everything out.  She's a very content little girl.  Our family is just so blessed.  I am so thankful for my four healthy babies and their daddy.

Emmy, I just want to hold you forever!  I could never tire of kissing your soft cheeks, staring into your wondering eyes, or just feeling the weight of you in my arms.  I will always love you and be praying for you.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

a love letter

Dear Jordan,

Do you have any idea how much I love you?!  I'm sitting on the hospital bed, waiting for you and the kids to come and get me and Emmy.  I just appreciate you so much.  You are such a great dad.  You have been amazing this weekend with the kids and with taking care of me.  Do you remember that you emptied out two buckets of my throw-up for me?!  You've witnessed 4 births now and you're still attracted to me?!  I know that you love me and I am so undeserving of it.  There's so much that I could do better as your wife.  You work so hard for us and I know that you'd do anything for any of us.  You are an amazing husband and I am so blessed to have you.  Yesterday, I laid in my hospital bed in between you and Emmy and as you both slept, I just reflected on our almost 7 years of marriage.  We have had some trials but all of those years were so wonderful.  We have both changed so much and for the better!  You were my best friend then and you are still that today.  You're funny, thoughtful, my rock.  You continue to walk with the Lord and are a godly example of a father to our children.  I absolutely ADORE you!  I know we've said it before but I really believe that this is our last child ;)  We are closing this chapter of having babies and it seems it just began.  What a wonderful time it's been.  I'm sad to think of never doing this labor and delivery thing again but looking forward to the next chapter of our lives.  You were always so supportive of me with each pregnancy and the way you have taken care of me with each delivery is so flattering.  You bought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers with this last child and I could have cried.  But I didn't so maybe that's why I'm crying now as I write this! 

I could go on and on proclaiming my love for you but I also know that you have a limited attention span :) 

I love you more than I ever. thought. possible.

Thank you for loving me.

Friday, November 2, 2012


The girls were so excited for Halloween this year (Charlie didn't seem to understand what exactly was going on!)  Of course Ruby had to be a princess and she wanted to wear her Belle gown.  Natalie went as an Indian and she got into character for it, too!  Because I was lazy and didn't search for the perfect costume for Charlie, he was a bum with messy hair, mis-matched shoes, a 5 o'clock shadow, and a cardboard sign saying 'Will work for candy'.  I didn't get any pictures of Charlie, though :(  So here are just the girls.

Natalie walked in a costume parade at school.
Earlier this fall, Natalie was asked to participate in a live mannequin show in downtown Holland for Spring's store.  While the other women in the windowfront were the queens of hearts, spades, diamonds, and clubs, Natalie was a joker.  She wore a joker hat and was told to just make the people on the other side of the window laugh.  And she did amazing!  We weren't able to be there because we were having the party for my mom, but Jordan's mom took her and said she had everyone laughing.  People would come and just watch her from the outside.  She worked for an hour and a half and had so much fun!  She certainly loves to entertain and make people laugh!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

ruby is four

Ruby turned 4 this week!  And I'm in shock!  Seems like she was just born and our first impression of her was that she was loud and had a big mouth!!  And suddenly, she is four!  She is still loud and, frankly, has  a big mouth.  But suddenly, she's a little lady.  She has grown up so much in the past year.  She has had a great week reminding us that it's her birthday week.  She has been asking about her birthday ever since Charlie had his in July.  Hope it's been as enjoyable as she has been imagining it would be.  We had two parties for her... one with grandma 'Zwaags' and one with the Barkel side.  She wore her current favorite princess dress for both parties (as well as for Halloween!).  She had also requested a princess party, which just meant she wanted everything in either pink or purple, oh and lemonade cake.  And she had a long list of princess items that she wanted for presents... and her guests delivered!  She got a lot of very cute presents!

Ruby is FULL of personality... sometimes more than I know what to do with as she is a very strong-willed girl.  She just loves to be dramatic!  She always has a story to tell and she loves books.  She's still our little fashionista - loves clothes and loves to accessorize.  She gets ready in the bathroom multiple times a day.  And she gives me honest opinions about my own style (or lack of!).  She's very into her Polly Pockets and Barbies, we play with them everyday and I love to see how she interprets the interactions of adults around her.  It's so cute to listen to her barbies talk to each other. 

I've been meaning to document that this spring, at 3.5 years old, she learned how to ride a bike without training wheels.  She caught on very quickly and still enjoys whipping down the road.  She has also mastered the 'one eyebrow lift' and this fall, she has been practicing writing her name and she's getting close.  I try to do school with her now and then but most times, she would prefer to be the teacher.  She misses Natalie when she's away but she also enjoys our alone time during Charlie's naps.  She is such a joy.  I find myself being too hard on her at times for being such a free-spirit.  According to my mom, she is just like me when I was this age.  But I do not consider myself a free-spirit and many times, I am way too rigid.  So I'm hoping that she never loses that and continues to teach me how to have fun and be fun!

Currently her favorite book is her little pink Bible, her favorite TV show is 'My Little Pony', her favorite thing to wear is her red pajama skirt on top of the clothes that I make her wear, her favorite song is 'We Are Young' (it's kind of our family's song that we all belt out together), her favorite toy is either a favorite barbie or polly pocket, and she still loves her blankie which is getting rattier everyday.  She can't wait to go to school and loves church.  Sometimes I worry about her socially since she is so independant but she plays really well with other kids and doesn't seem to be bossy.  She is finally coming around to the idea of Jesus... up until this point, she's either been skeptical or stubborn, I'm not sure which.  She is very excited for our baby to come and prays for her often.

We love Ruby so much.  She is a rock, she is hilarious, she is beautiful, she is fierce, she is determined, she is sugar and spice.  She adds so much life and pizzaz to this family and I praise God for her!  Happy fourth birthday, Ruby Louise!!

celebrating mom

This fall, my sister, brother, and I put together a surprise party for my mom.  It was a housewarming party since she moved into a condo.  She has been through a lot but has had a great support system of family and friends through it all.  So we invited her closest friends and family for a night of celebration.  We had two couples take her out to dinner after work and us kids got in her house to set up for the party.  Her friends arrived and the guys chauffered them back and forth from a parking lot to avoid suspicion.  We anxiously waited in the dark living room and caught her off gaurd when we hollered 'surprise'.  It was so exciting.  We had planned for the party for about 6 weeks and hoped for it to be kept a secret.  We even went so far as to invite our very good friends from Florida who came in especially for her party.  Katie and I hung out with Brian and Dorothy for 2 days before mom even knew they were in town.  And the second part of the surprise was that they were going to stay with mom!  So after the initial surprise of the party, she was then surprised to find Brian and Dorothy knocking on the door with their suitcases in hand.  We had cake, punch, goodies, and great fellowship.  The guests at this party have been by her side through everything and Katie, Nick, and I are grateful for each one of them.

And my mom is the most amazing woman I will ever personally know.  Through it all, she has remained faithful to the Lord and has cried out to him for deliverance.  With all that she went through, those that knew the circumstances would not have blamed her if she were bitter and chose not to ever forgive or move on.  But that is not who she is.  She is this beautiful, courageous, inspiring woman.  The greatest example of a wife, mother, and God-fearing woman that a daughter could ever ask for.  She has always been a living example of her faith.  That characteristic of hers was ever present in my own life and has drastically shaped my own relationship with Christ.  I have seen first-hand the miracle of redemption, the freeing power of forgiveness, the joy that is possible even in the darkest of times.  I hope to not ever experience the depth of despair that she has experienced but I know that my Savior will carry me through those times if I look to Him.  I am so blessed to be a daughter of the God of this universe, who cares so deeply for His children.  And I am so grateful for His great love, guidance, and provision in my mom's life.

And that is why we had to celebrate :)

the baby is coming

T minus 6 days.  I cannot believe how fast this pregnancy has flown by.  I think people even forget that I'm pregnant... until they look at me.  I am ginormous! 

My goal for this pregnancy was to stay somewhat in shape.  I had worked so hard to get the weight off after Charlie was born and then to keep it off.  I was training for the 25k when I first found out I was pregnant.  So I kept up the running until the race was over.  Running turned to walking.  Walking fizzled away with the sizzling summer heat.  And now the most exercise I get is wrestling with my two year old.  I've got a lot of work ahead of me to get this weight off and during the holidays, besides :(

I have been trying to enjoy this {presumably} last pregnancy of mine.  I haven't ever minded being pregnant and especially during the second trimester, I have enjoyed it every time.  But at this time, I am ready to not be pregnant anymore.  I'm so much more exhausted... probably due to chasing Charlie around all the time.  I don't think I've even 'nested' with this one.  I'd just rather nap!  I've been searching for the nostalgia in these last days of being pregnant but instead of finding it, I think I am just trying to create it myself!  I just want this little baby girl out!

I can't wait to meet her!  I finally have things prepared for her arrival and it seems surreal that soon she will be sleeping in her little bassinet and wearing those little outfits hanging in the closet.  I feel so incredibly blessed.  The kids are super excited for her to get here too.  Natalie and Charlie have especially appreciated the pregnancy; Natalie keeps coming up to me and lifting up my tummy and Charlie has been enjoying seeing and feeling her move.  Ruby will just be thrilled once she's finally here. 

The baby has been so active throughout the pregnancy.  I don't know if it's because of how stretched everything is for her but she has tumbling all over the place even up to this 9th month.  With the other 3, I could see them tumbling all over but usually it would subside quite a bit by the third pregnancy as they got bigger.  But with this child, I can still pinpoint her feet and her little bum moving from one side to the other.

I love her so much already and am so grateful that God chose this for us.  Although I still don't know how I'm going to manage 4 kids! 

Come little girl, we are ready for you!

First time doing some preggo pics!