Category Archives: Adventure in Life

Here’s to Imperfection

I’m always waiting for the perfect setting to begin writing again. It usually has something to do with a warm cup of coffee, sleeping children, and inspiration flowing through my mind and fingers. As it turns out, I rarely have any of these things. Or rather, I have them, just sporadically through out my day and night. Never at the same time.

But lately I’ve been working and praying towards training myself to not need to have the perfect conditions for life, but rather utilizing the time I do have. This morning, I’ve been up early, the littles have meandered down the stairs slowly, and are happily eating their breakfast, playing with puppies, and watching cartoons before the day really begins. My coffee might be cold, and the littles awake, and nothing is really urgently on my mind to get out, but I’m going to take what I can get.

So here’s to renewed goals of imperfection. To not expecting life to provide me the most ideal situations. To happily accepting what is what it is.  And to my cold cup of coffee.  Thank God for abilities to reheat.

Merry Christmas’d

christmasd_4Let’s suffice it to say that Christmas was a successful event. So successful we took yesterday off as “Christmas’d” day.

A kitchen set was assembled. A doll house put together. Lego pieces became a cafe, records were enjoyed, Yo Gabba Gabba was watched.

christmasd_16As wonderful as it was to run from home to home eating and laughing and playing games with our families, there was something so great about our own Christmas’d day. A moment to breathe. Together. As our little family.

christmasd_15Today we’ll shower, bathe, and begin the great transition of Christmas toys and spoils from under the tree to their proper homes.

But until that moment comes. I’ll relish in watching my littles messy christmas’d mops of hair run from toy to toy this early morning. And even though our exhausted bodies still feel a bit Christmas’d. It’s the moments like this that I'd

Hello Dear Friend

A blog is like a dear friend. when you’ve been away a while you can’t wait to get back to it. You think about it when you’re gone, and plan for the activities you’ll do together. Sometimes you avoid your dear friend because you don’t know how to explain the things you have thought in your heart. And sometimes you just can’t make the time in the day for the extra trip to visit your dear friend.  But you still find yourself missing that friend all the same.

And the day comes when you reunite again.

You’ve got to take the time to get to know each other again. Talk about what’s been going on while you’ve been away. Make plans over coffee to get together again soon.

It’s a breath of fresh air to say hello to my dear friend once more.  I really do hope we see each other more often.

*annnd throwing in a photo of our little T, because things like this make us all smile.*

Feet On My Bed

Tonight, it’s late.  There are littles sprawled throughout my room, as they have been all week long while daddy is away at a conference. Little puzzle pieces of legs, arms, and tiny bodies finding a comfortable spot on the bed or mattress on the floor.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.
As much as we miss our daddy while he’s gone, I think this week has been a much needed week for these growing littles of mine.  This week there have been endless talks of life and learning. We’ve read from the Horse and His Boy hours into the night, while their tired eyes begged for one more chapter, just so we could find out who was walking next to Shasta. We’ve adventured to a picnic at the park with a special stop on the way home at an ice cream shop. They’ve played. And I’ve listened.
I’m reminded this week how easy it is to miss their growing up. From right underneath my nose in the day to day, they grow up.
Our little number 3 turned 2. She mastered the art of the potty, and in a weeks time is now insisting on doing everything “big.”  And I’m remembering her beginnings, on a bus, with those tiny folded hands. Just like that, she’s not the baby.  One of the team now.
Our oldest little, I’m finding is no longer a little. She’s a big. With hair that shines red in the sun, eyes that sparkle green, and a splash of freckles across her nose just to give the passerby a double take.
And not to be outdone our little formerly known as middle has lost the very last remains of the baby only a mamma can see. Her face has thinned out. Her hair now down to her shoulders, her legs long and thin.
One, two, three, four littles growing up so quickly, right out from under my nose. If I don’t soak it in now, these moments will be lost forever. Making me grateful for a week to take them in. To watch them breath at night, and feel their little feet kicking on my legs, trying to find room on the bed. If I don’t slow down just enough to breath them in, and watch them grow, I fear I’ll miss some of the greatest things about living this life.
Oh, how I’m grateful for these feet on my bed.

Eight Years

Dear husband,
Eight years ago today, we jumped in with rings and vows, solidifying our motto “Always an Adventure” and took the plunge into what’s done nothing but Adventure.
We’ve taken satisfaction at doing things others said wasn’t possible. We’ve ignored glares from what isn’t the norm. We’ve ran as hard and as fast as we possibly could towards goals I didn’t even know were attainable. I love being married to you.
I don’t think I make that clear enough. I love being married to you. I don’t think I tell you frequently enough. I love being married to you. I’m so grateful that you so willingly changed another dirty diaper, or vacuumed the once again, and always dirty living room floor, or so willingly made me a coffee just to make me feel special.
I love being married to you.
In years past, I’ve boasted on our anniversary of how much we’ve accomplished in following the Lord, in our marriage. All the places, and doings that have gone on. Boy, are they spectacular. Buses, and 36 states. Coffee shops, music venues, Always an Adventure. 4 baby girls, 4 pups, 2 cats, 11 kittens, and 1 turtle. I love being married to you. Still, that’s not my favorite thing about you.
This last year, I have found such joy and love and trust in you.  I have never felt more satisfied and content in trusting you to follow the Lord . I blame that mostly on the amount of time that I have seen you “on your knees” –so to speak–I love being married to you, specifically when I know you are taking all of our families needs, desires, and wants to the Lord.
I find my heart satisfied and content in knowing you would care that deeply about us.  It’s when you pray that I see it carried out in those coffee’s you make me.  I see it carried out in the floor you vacuumed, once again. I see it in that dirty diaper you so willingly change.
I love being married to you.
Thank you for these eight years. Thank you for our adventure. Thank you for being a man I can trust. Thank you for praying for us.

I love being married to you.

Sneaking the Moments

I’ve learned a couple things in the last month.  Having four babies and all. In some ways I thought that having four would be easy, and I’ve ended up feeling like I’m drowning and then someone’s handed me a fourth child. In some ways it’s been as beautiful and natural as I could imagine.  And in still completely other ways, I’ve been in awe of my whole families ability to adapt and step up to the plate.
As our tribe grows, I remember as mama how important, and necessary it is to sneak those single moments away with each little.  How greatly needed is that 5 minutes after all the others are in bed with our biggest little.  How necessary the few minutes in the morning with the little formerly known as middle before the others wake up.  Even our not so littlest needs those moments snuck away for just her and I.
When I find those moments, their days are brighter.  My day is brighter. They are reminded they are precious and special and mean the entire world to me.  I am reminded they are precious and special and mean the entire world to me.
I forget so easily how important it is to reaffirm my heart for my littles. I can tell the world how much I care, but what good does it if they don’t know?  In the last month, since our Hallel was born, it’s been easy to ask the girls to push through, do hard things, accept long nights, and moments where mama just has to sit down a bit.  When I have forgotten to sneak away the moments, I can see it on their faces. It’s in their attitudes. It’s in my attitude.
But when I remember the importance of sneaking the moment, Oh how fantastic! On a trip with family to a waterfall this last week, biggest asked me to go back to the van with her for a minute. She needed to get a couple of things and it was one of those things that after six years of being entrusted to her care, I knew only mama could go.  It was somewhere along the walk back to the van I stopped thinking about the sleeping babe I was sling carrying around, over rocks and up an incline, and began recognizing the moment that had been snuck.
freedom Girl
I took in my budding young girl. I watched her adventurous spirit I’ve always loved and admired. We talked about life, her heart, her plans, our family. In the in between times, she ran up the highest rocks, and darted back and forth up trees and along the water.  It’s these sneaking moments that I smile, and thank God.  These babies truly are a blessing.  I’m not just saying that because I’m supposed to. It’s because in these sneaking moments, I realize how precious and special life is.  How honored I am to be a part of it.
Waterfalls and Dreadlocks
Mama’s,  sneak the moments with your littles. Your babies. You will never regret it.

Hallel’s Day

“It was as though having a baby made all the fairy tales come true for her.  As though she were a painter who discovered a color all new to the world”–Don Miller

All photo's taken by Riley. (

You would think a quote like this would only effect the new mamma. The first time mamma.  I can’t relay enough how true this sits in my mamma heart of four now. And how new it all still is with number four.

Only this new comes with confidence. Confidence that we’ve done this before. Confidence that I am mamma and I can raise little girls. Confidence that I can go through labor and birth a beautiful baby.  Confidence and natural acceptance.

If I had to describe the birth of Hallel Righteous Ember with only a couple of words, those are the words I would use; confidence and natural acceptance.  From the early morning hours waking to contractions, to the last minute preparations as we waited for the contractions to grow stronger, to the final quick moments in the pool where she would breathe her first, all with confidence and natural acceptance.

It wasn’t something I planned. And I don’t mean it in a cocky way, It was the peacefulness of knowing that we’ve done this before, and the things to expect weren’t surprises anymore.  They became the necessary and gave me the freedom to live through the moment and allow what was intended to happen, to happen.

Around 4:30am on March 8th, I finally got out of bed. Giving up hope of sleep and accepting the idea that this baby just might actually be coming two days early rather then 10 or 11 late. I intended to grab my bible and spend a few minutes dedicating the day to the Lord.

Intentions are good. But sometimes littles wake up. And our little T, knew something was up. She lay in bed with me–as she is custom to doing when she wakes up in the night–and I sang to her while I stroked her hair, trying to lull her back to sleep.  In the dark, I spent that time with the Lord I was seeking, with my Torah and her big eyes watching my every move.

Soon enough it became clear that she wasn’t going back to sleep and I wasn’t either. So, down the stairs it was to begin last minute preparations of sanitizing and cleaning, and putting together things like straws and Emergen-C for later in the day. I wasn’t completely sold that the contractions wouldn’t stop, so I waited to wake Josh or call the midwife.

Around the time Josh did wake, Torah fell back to sleep, and the two of us were able to share the moment of realization that this baby just might be coming today.–it’s the moments like that that make marriage special–Josh got to making us a good breakfast, as I’m terrible about eating when in labor, and at that moment I felt like eating, so we jumped on the opportunity while it was there.  I got back to my preparations.

Breakfast was done, and the midwife was called. The contractions weren’t stopping and over breakfast we had looked at each other with the knowing that this baby was coming today.

I found a spot in a spare room in the house where I was able to labor and think and pray.  I wrote. I took a few photo’s of the birth room, that I had now finished setting up, and I read a few “birthy” things that only made me tear with emotion as I was accepting the task at hand.

As the other littles woke up and were informed of the days happenings, they became eager wanting to help. I took a moment with them to pray together, and ask if they had any questions about the day. Z prayed that I wouldn’t have any more contractions so I don’t hurt, but was mostly concerned about when Grandma and Aunt Hannah were coming.

The next happenings of the day kind of begin to blur together. Sandy, the midwife, arrived and began setting up her instruments. Unlike my previous labors I found no issue in talking through and around contractions.  Previously, they took all my focus and concentration, not that they were harder, but I think more that I was still learning how to prepare.  This time around the contractions came and went, and as I needed to stop and focus I did, but for the most part during the day, conversations were had. Littles were attended to, and life happened around as we all geared up for the afternoon’s events. I felt strong, confident, and was more prepared for the day just letting it naturally happen to me then any time before.

It was around 2pm that Sandy checked me, as I was feeling ready to find relief in the pool. 7cm dialated and about 75% effaced. Oh, and one other thing, my cervix was still very posterior.–for the non-birthy out there, it was back towards my back far, making a lot more work to reach 10cm as we waited for the cervix to come down–to remedy the posterior cervix, Sandy suggested the thing I hate most, labor on my back. With an added bonus of hugging the baby into my belly to get things pointing in the right direction.

I’ve learned that sometimes a bit more pain now, means less hours in it. And at least I had the pool for relief.

Which it did. Bring relief that is. Immediate relief. To the point I almost went to sleep. Well, until the next contraction came. On my back. With my baby hugged. And things quickly progressed into the labor that comes like waves. The kind where you can’t do anything but accept them for what they are, and allow your body to do what it needs to do naturally, to cope with the waves as they come.

I’ve become accustomed to saying “Jesus” over and over. Those waves of contractions and pain my body is giving can only be accepted when I have given all hope and ability into His hands. I never plan to pray through the contractions, but it’s what comes naturally, and I’ve decided I really like that about my births so far.

In addition to the prayers I also found myself singing slowly as the contracting waves hit my body over and over. As I near the end of this labor, the more focus I needed, and the more I found the relief in finding a way to call on the Lord.
The song that came out was an old hymn–How Great Thou Art–I don’t think I sang all the lyrics right. I didn’t really even mean to sing at all. The song just came, and with the contractions my heart and mind focused as I sang.

It was only about 45 minutes–I think.–and I began to feel the great urge to push. Unlike my previous births, this feeling came on strong, and me with out the ability to stop it. I murmured to Sandy I wanted to push, but really there wasn’t much stopping at this point.
She wanted to check me, and when she had, finding that  baby was definitely ready to come and I was at 10 cm, she gave me the okay. And I pushed.
I pushed with intensity. Partially because it’s all I could do at that point. There wasn’t another option. And partially because I’ve always appreciated the pushing part of birth. It’s when I can finally combat the waves with some kind of action. Any kind of action that will bring some kind of relief.

3:58pm birth of head.
4:00pm birth of body.

And into the world Hallel Righteous Ember came.  7lbs 12 oz. 19 inches long.

She chose to breathe her first underwater–which is uncommon and unusual. Making her a purple color. And making me more grateful for my midwife then ever before–as if I wasn’t already.  After waiting for the cord to stop pulsing, Josh cut the cord and Sandy scooped up Hallel in her arms and began sucking the liquid and mucus out of her lungs. The whole situation reminded me of Hosanna’s birth, where she had breathed her meconium and after being tubed was sent to a NICU for two and a half weeks.  Only this time around I was grateful for the wisdom and understanding and care brought on by a trained midwife. One who doesn’t go off of procedure or hospital duties. She worked hard, and pulled a lot of goo out our babe’s mouth. She lay her upside down on my lap and rub her back to pull the liquid out–the same thing she had said she would do when we first met her, and I asked her what would happen if my baby breathed meconium again. And sure enough, Hallel was okay.

And so there were herb baths to be had. And meals to be ate. And a babymoon to begin.  As our Brindle Tribe settles into a family of six. Four girls. Two puppies. And a turtle.

Welcome to the world baby. I’m so glad you’re here.

To Our Fourth Season

Dear Season 4,
Here we are. Just days–or weeks in my case–away from your big debut. We’re about to go from being a small tribe to a regular old tribe. No more small cars for this family. You, season 4 are expanding us in so many ways.
When our first season was born, I remember promising in my heart that I would always make a huge deal out of each pregnancy. I didn’t want any subsequent children after season 1 to feel like they weren’t as important, or as thought about.  As the littles have come, and now here your arrival as season 4 is quickly approaching, I realize how immature that idea was.
There has been nothing more satisfying then happily just expecting you. You’ve found your place in this family with out fanfare. You’ve grown inside me as though this is just the way it should be.
I like that.
I like being comfortable with you. I like happily expecting you. I like enjoying our relationship of kicks and hiccups with out great fanfare.
I’m learning that growing up is so much fun. It was special and extravagant to have season 1. It was grand rite of passage of womanhood that I didn’t know existed. Now, with you, season 4, you are a grand comfort and expectancy of motherhood. I was so wrong to ever think that enjoying the comforts of having “another” little was a slap in the face to that little. No, it is a great honor.
You season 4, you are a welcomed comfort.

The Pox and Words of a 19 month old {video}

Some bring on the new year with things like resolutions. Maybe an attempt to exercise, eat right, find true love, that sort of thing. Not us. We bring on the new year with chicken pox.

At least that’s what our bean thinks. She’s decided to sport some new itchy red bumps the last couple of days. She loves them so much she’s let them spread to her arms and down her legs.

But don’t take my word for it. This is what she had to say about it;

Here’s to January

To January

I’m expecting a bit of a slow breath out this week. Welcoming in January, and the adventures of 2012. Mostly me catching up with glamourous things like laundry.  Things that have been solidly neglected for the last couple of weeks.

and the girls?  They’re working on making the most adventure of every regular moment.

Bag Lady

the moments I love most.