The Colors

We collected leaves last week down the road from Grandma's house. Trying to take in all the beauty while it lasts.


Capri Raylissa

Having baby number three was so anti-climatic to me. There was nothing new about it. We already had one boy and one girl. I really struggled with looking forward to meeting her. With each baby I've worried about not being able to love them enough, but with this one I couldn't even get excited about that first meeting. 

Like the other two, I remained sick through the entire pregnancy, swelled a lot, was always lightheaded, would faint on some occasions, got constant remarks about how much weight I had gained, slept terribly (if at all), and to make matters worse, my husband was going through some of his own health problems, making me feel completely unsupported and alone through it all. 

On the Fourth of July, right before we found out that we were having a girl, I went for an hour long walk. Usually walking made me that much sicker, so that long a walk was rare for me - I could usually only stand 30 minutes. But that day was different. I prayed the entire time. I earnestly asked God to help me to bond with this baby. To get excited about it. I also asked Him to help me decide on a middle name if it was a girl (we already had a boy's name picked out). He spoke to me so gently, so subtly, but so clearly.

You see, my first three sibling line up is the same as my children. Boy, girl, girl. I have an older brother named GJ, I'm next and my sister, Melissa (Missi) is the second girl (#3 in the family). Growing up Missi and I were always especially close since we are only 19 months apart. Our relationship has just grown stronger the older we've gotten. I would say that Missi is my absolute best friend.

So that day on my walk God reminded me of the bond I have with the #3 child in my family. Memories of our childhood danced on the cinema screen of my mind and I cried. Yes. That's right. That #3 child is very very special to me. I knew then that this baby was a girl. Then God told me that her middle name should be a name that reminded me of my sister Melissa. Chris and I have chosen to use the C R initials with all of our children, so I immediately came up with Raylissa for Capri's middle name because it reminds me of Melissa. 

From that moment on I started to bond with Capri. I imagined how Cassi and Capri would be close. I remembered the thoughts and feelings my sister Melissa had being the #3 in our family and I chuckled to myself thinking that Capri might have those same feelings.

I continued to gripe and groan about my pregnancy, even with the new excitement about meeting her, but my griping got even worse when Capri decided to arrive later than I hoped.

The day she came, I broke down in front of a friend and shared with her my selfish immaturity about the situation. She so very sympathetically prayed over me. She prayed that I would have the baby right after a party I was going to that night. She prayed the baby would come quickly and that there would be enough time to get an epidural (something I decided to plan on after the trauma of my first two). She also prayed over the baby--that Capri would touch lives and be a powerful woman of God.

Capri's labor started right after the party that night that I was prayed over. My labor was very quick, but there was still enough time for an epidural for the last hour of my labor. The whole experience was super easy and as pain free as it could possibly be. And then there was Capri. Right there in my arms. The doctor let me have her right away and nurse her for quite a while before they took her away to clean her. In those special moments I knew that we were already bonded.

My little Capri has been more attached to me than my other two children. She actually cuddles, hugs, and kisses me and she did so at an earlier age than the other two.

She just turned 1 on Saturday. God was gracious to me even in my time of doubt, selfishness, and immaturity. Capri is a very precious gift that I did not deserve and I am so thankful for the past twelve months that I have had with her!

Happy Birthday Capri Raylissa!


School and Fall

Our unit study on ancient times and civilizations finished this week with a study on Jewish customs, so we ended our week with a makeshift Seder meal. Note that instead of a lamb bone we used sweet potato (my Google search informed me that Jewish vegetarians use the potato instead, and of course I believe everything I read on the internet).

Feels good to wrap up an entire unit for our history course at least. Looking forward to what's in store for the next unit!


Art Prize

The night after we took our family photos last week, we headed up to Grand Rapids, Michigan where my parents and a few brothers live. Chris had a work meeting with an organization there, and of course I wasn't about to let him go without the kids and I when I could see my family while he worked! 

The first night there my one brother (in town from Florida), and Chris and I treated the folks to a nice dinner downtown as a belated Birthday gift (my parents' Birthdays are within three days of each other). It was a lot of fun getting to go out and spend some adult time with my parents and brother without the children around to distract us. 

And then I invited my friend who is a former art teacher to come up from Ohio to go to Grand Rapids' Art Prize with me that same weekend. Art Prize is a three week long event in downtown Grand Rapids. Artists from all over the country enter their artwork and display it at any venue they wish in the downtown area of the city. The city then votes on the best art and there is a grand prize for the winner. My Mom acted as our tour guide and took us all around to the best spots for art. We even got to stop for lunch at the 616, a fabulous restaurant on the river. We rounded out the day with a trip to the mall after Art Prize and loaded up on some great deals. 

I love taking any chance I get to go home to Grand Rapids - such a good time with friends and family - and of course, another great Art Prize experience!