Monday, December 15, 2008
It's true. My baby girl just turned SEVEN! It seems like just a moment ago that I wandered in amazement at her perfectly formed little fingers and toes... and now I am wandering at the evidences of God's grace I see in her life.
Chris reminded me that a couple of years ago I didn't know if she'd live to see her 6th Birthday (5 was a hard age! Whew!). At her party, I watched Lauren serve her friends, include her little brother at lunchtime, and play with friends from 4 to 11 without discrimination. These do not come naturally to seven-year-olds (or their 28 year old Moms!) nor are they entirely taught.
Today, I'm documenting the way the Lord is growing you into a godly woman, Lauren. You are a blessing to Mommy and I'm thankful you are a model for sweet little Georgia Anne to watch and learn from. I love you. Happy Birthday.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Since this Christmas project has drawn so much attention, I thought I'd keep ya'll up to date on our progress. I initially blogged about this as a favorite Christmas tradition on our church's blog: http://www.acupofgracegcc.blogspot.com/ (You'll have to look in the "Categories" section on the R & click on "Christmas Traditions" and then scroll down till you see the gingerbread nativity. My disclaimer is: It's a family project that the children primarily do, so don't expect a Southern Living display. :) Enjoy!)
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
So I've stirred up the hornet's nest in regards to cloth diapers. :) I'll try to post a quick summary of how & why on cloth diapering- you can always research them in more detail. OR come over for a hands-on experience! It's so easy- or I wouldn't be adding this to my life with 5 children!
Who: We bought the bulk of our current supply when pregnant with Lauren. We bought used and have since used them for Lauren, Timbo, Andrew and now Georgia. I also shared them with a friend between kids. That's a lot of use! (read: they're durable!)
What: Over the years, we've used many different kinds. Now, we're mainly using prefolds (aka Chinese Prefolds) which we fasten with a Snappi, not pins, ($2.50 each www.snappibaby.com), OR MotherEase OneSize and Sandies (www.mother-ease.com) OR FuzziBunz (www.fuzzibunz.com).
When & Where: You can use cloth anywhere! When you go out, just put the wet ones in a waterproof bag (like this one: http://www.softclothbunz.com/Bummis-Tote-Bags_p_0-10.html) & keep on rollin! Or you can use 'sposies when you're out if your baby's hiney is ok with that.
Why: They're cheaper- thousands of dollars cheaper, in fact! We figure we've saved between $7,000 & $9,000 by using cloth on Lauren, Timothy, Andrew & Georgia (and potty training early). They're healthier for baby's tender skin. I won't go into a lecture, but if you Google cloth diapers, you'll get more than an eyefull on that subject. They're "greener"- I am not a tree hugger, but I do believe in stewardship. Cloth reduces waste.
HOW: This is what everyone wants to know! Ok- wet ones go straight into a diaper pail. You can use a small trash can without a lid until your baby starts to eat solids (around 6-8 months). Breastfed baby poop doesn't smell that bad till you add food to the mix. :) We're currently using a trashcan w/a lid that flips up when you step on the pedal b/c we cloth diaper Andrew as well. Newborn dirty dipes can go straight into the pail until baby has solid poop. At that point, you just shake the solids into the potty & (you guessed it!) toss the diaper into the pail. Did you know you're supposed to do the same with disposable diapers (flush solids)? Read the pkg!
When the diaper pail is full, you simply dump it into your washer (not quite as easy w/a front loader... But ah-well, such is life!) and then do a soak & rinse cycle, hot wash cycle, and then a 2nd rinse (w/vinegar if they start to smell- depends on your water). You can fold them and stack in a pretty diaper stacker or you can toss them into a neat little basket and just use them from the basket w/o ever folding, depending on your personal neatness preference. I fold. :)
Sound too simple? I know! It really is easy-that's why we do it! Minimal hands-on time and lots of $ saved. It's a win-win situation!
Friday, September 26, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Short version for the guys: Last Friday, we welcomed a new little one into our family. All in all, I was in "active labor" for 44 minutes as Chris recalls. I was in "labor land" where time stands still. :)
Georgia Anne Olsen was born at 5:28 pm. She weighed 9 pounds 6 ounces, is 21 1/2" long, she has lots of hair though we're undecided on the color (dark brown or auburn? give it a day or two!). She has blue eyes and is a precious part of the Olsen fam already!
For all the girls, here's the longer version, though the full thing (with emotions and all) will have to wait for another time, when life slows down (ha!): My labor started with my water breaking at 1:30 in the afternoon. Chris rubbed my back and shoulders while I sat on the birth ball. They weren't too sore- but labor is one of the few times I get as much back rubbing as I'd like, so I wasn't turning down a backrub! :) I was 5 cm dilated. The rest of the birth team arrived, Katie and Kristin, and got set up- we were ready to have a baby!
Well, they were ready but my little one wasn't quite ready yet! (That's a good order, by the way. Birth team ready and waiting for the little one, not vice versa!) The wonderful thing about a homebirth is the relaxed atmosphere while we all wait for my body to do what it was created to do. So we talked, I walked around the house, sat on the birth ball some more, my sweet sister rubbed my back and then Sharon checked me again- I was 8+ cm and though the contractions were still around 3 min apart, they were getting much more intense.
I decided to get into the tub to help ease the intensity of the contractions. Andrew came in to check on me. He loves taking baths and really wanted to join me in the tub! But I had to turn my little buddy down because they were really getting strong and it was almost time. Granny took him out to play with Ben, Lauren and Timbo upstairs and the birth team came in.
This is where the relationship with my midwife is such a blessing. Sharon is so steady, soothing and encouraging. I know I can trust her and that she isn't only relying on her own strength, but on that of the Lord. When I started to push, she helped me get in a position that both felt good to me and was productive in pushing out our baby! Katie, a student midwife, was a huge blessing there as well- she was encouraging and super helpful. (Thanks, Katie!) I pushed for about 10 min (according to Chris, time was standing still to me). I couldn't feel this baby move down the birth canal as obviously as I did with Andrew, but when I looked in Sharon's eyes, I knew things were going just as they should. Perseverence!
Chris offered to sit behind me so I could brace myself on him, but I decided no since I was almost done. Sharon told me to reach down and feel my baby's head- that is so encouraging! Another push and her head was out. (That felt much better!) Then she told me to reach down and get my baby. Sweet relief! I reached down and lifted my little one up and onto my chest. My baby!
Smiles and thanks to the Lord abounded- my new baby was here. The children came in and Lauren was the one to nervously look and then gleefully announce, "It's a sister!" GeGe, Daddy & Lauren were right! She is named after my GeGe, her great-grandmother. Georgia Anne Olsen. Timbo cut his new sister's umbilical cord. What a big boy!
There is so much more that I love about birth- the excitement of sharing birth with my hubby, Mom and sister (who is due in February with her first!)... A nice warm shower and then snuggling down into clean sheets on my own comfy bed afterwards... The children being the ones to do the newborn exam with Mrs. Sharon- what a privilege! The Lord was kind to us and birth was, once again, a sweet time of waiting, trusting, working and welcoming new life into our family.
Friday, September 5, 2008
When Seth lead us in the song, "We put our hope in You" (I guess that's the title), I was reminded of God's goodness in a new way. I lean on him in a different way when I don't have any other choice... perhaps my life will grow in such a way that I will be that dependant on Him regardless of my circumstances. (Let it be so, Lord.)
I jotted these notes down as I worshipped this great God who speaks to me, personally. "When I'm exhausted, sick and physically worn out, I would do well to remember Christ's death. He laid down His life for me and now He holds my days in the palm of His hand. These days aren't a surprise for Him! And His example for me is not simply endurance- it is joyful submission!! It is putting my hope not in how I feel physically, but in Christ and His loving death for me.
Thank You, Lord, for songs full of Your Word, Your Truths, sound doctrine... thank You for encouraging me Sunday and for sustaining me every day.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Our AC isn't working. This is not an ideal combination for an 8 1/2 month pregnant Mamma! BUT "the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places." Today is overcast (compliments of Hurricane/Tropical Storm/Hurricane/Tropical Depression/Hurricane/WHATEVER! Fay) and so I am choosing to be thankful instead of complaining.
Psalm 16 was the passage I read this morning, and I'm so thankful for The Lord's timing. "I say to the Lord, 'You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.' (that's v.2) The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. (v 5-6) I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand I whall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells seure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
I wasn't originally going to write out the whole passage... but WOW! The Lord is so faithful to have me read such a beautiful Psalm the very morning that I may be tempted to complain! Hey, David didn't have AC when he wrote this! :) I want to model for the children a godly attitude. I have NO GOOD apart from the Lord! The lines have truly fallen for us in pleasant places- my family is healthy and together, we are able to enjoy this weather while learning a new lesson... and God's mercies are new today.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Ben is out of town this weekend. He's enjoying a vacation with his Mima (Chris' Mom) touring the forts along the GA coast, counting Sea Turtles and other cool things. I'm so glad he's having fun... but I do miss him!!
The rest of us Olsens had a Daddy Day today. We surprised Chris with breakfast at Waffle House. Chris used to go a lot when he was a kiddo & in college, so I thought it'd be fun to head there for breakfast. This was the children's first time there- Lauren had pecan waffles, Timothy had a scrambled egg wrap and Andrew had some of everyone else's food. :)
Then, we headed to World Golf Village for some playground time and then putt putt golfing... World Golf Style. Mostly it was great family time, but Chris did get a teeny bit of putting practice on the greens while there! You can see that the kiddos had fun- a picture really is worth a thousand words! I think the Olsens are better at fishing than golfing. *grin*
Friday, August 15, 2008
I've also looked through photos of our previous births and marvelled at how sweet the children are and how you can see a bit of their personalities even at birth! Andrew was happy, calm, and snuggly from the get-go. One photo taken immediately after his birth is of him resting in my arms with one hand in his mouth and the other on his head. He did that a lot in the womb as well and it was fascinating to see him doing what I had felt him doing while he was still inside!
I'll post a different picture, though, (for decency!) of him being sweet and smiley when he was getting his first checkup a few hours after birth. I am so blessed to have experienced the miracle of birth and am excited to welcome a new little one into our family soon(ish). As you think of us, please pray for the new Olsen to be born healthily, without complications, and quickly but not too quickly. *grin* And for Chris & me to always recognize him as a gift from the Lord.
Monday, August 4, 2008
I thought it'd be fun to post some photos from our wedding album. :) Mom had the album, so I'm a few days late posting these (July 31 is the official date).
Yes, we look young. We were! Chris and I were both 18, which means we'll be able to enjoy our 50th when we're only 68... with lots of grown-up kiddos & grandkids to celebrate with, I hope!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Chris & I celebrated our 10 year anniversary last weekend. We drove up to Savannah the first night to break up the trip. Chris had lots of surprises up his sleeve- he reserved a Bed & Breakfast there, just like we did for our honeymoon! We ate dinner in a historic home, The Olde Pink House, and I received my biggest surprise of the trip- a new ring! My old ring hadn't fit for months (since becoming pregnant) but I had NO idea this was coming! And he did an amazing job choosing- it is simple and elegant. Wow.
Friday morning, we drove up to Charleston (what a gorgeous drive!) and started exploring the city. It is larger than we expected! When I grew tired from walking, we found a pedi-cab (bicycle with a cart behind for tourists who get tired from walking too much! LOL) who would whisk us away to the acquarium- and just in time! The skies opened up as we paid our admission. After enjoying the fish, jellies, and other exhibits, we walked back to the hotel in a light drizzle... enjoying the historic city all the way.
There is so much to tell of the rest of the trip- fabulous food at every turn, neat historic sights, gorgeous gardens at plantations, a trip to a Whole Foods market (WOW!) and the tranquility of the water... suffice it to say we had a refreshing and memorable 10 year anniversary trip.
I count my blessings to be wed to such a thoughtful hubby (though he did forget to stop for breakfast on our way home- but I think a little grace is ok there, don't you?!) Here's to 10 more years and many more memories! Here here!!
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
He's also a great Daddy! Our children love him so much- and he gives them many reasons to do so- ice cream, fireworks, nightly devotion time, playing ball in the backyard, and all snuggling together in the big rocking chair.
I'm so thankful the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, gave this man to me. I could go on- but that's probably enough sappiness for all of you and besides, I don't want to set the bar too high for my single friends. :) I love you, Chris!
Monday, June 16, 2008
Chris is a fantastic Daddy. He is loving, patient, ecouraging, fun and he catches yummy fish! For Father's Day, the kiddos and I bought him a tube to pull behind the boat. It was a little scary for me at first- but a blast for everyone (including Mama) by the end!
We had perfect weather Friday evening for tubing- the wind was blowing from the South and it laid the waves down for a smooth first time tubing. Here are a few pictures of the trip.
Saturday morning, Chris went off-shore to fish (he caught a beautiful Lane Snapper- pinkish with bright yellow stripes! Yummy!). While he was fishing, the kiddos & I went blueberry picking. We set up an assembly line when we arrived back home- Timbo picked out the stems, Ben wiped them clean & Lauren sorted to be eaten fresh or frozen! Andrew just ate the blueberries. :)
On Father's Day, we enjoyed a relaxing day at home. Fresh-picked blueberries in the homemade pancakes for breakfast. Then we had an absolutely glorious church service- man, heaven is going to be so amazing. I can't wait to worship with all the saints! After church, we napped (the 2nd best gift a Dad can receive!) and then grilled out (in the rain). We tried Salmon on a cedar plank... yummy! I didn't take pictures of that, but the children had a blast playing in the drizzling rain while Chris grilled.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Sunday, June 1, 2008
"Back when I was a kid..." (read that in a crackly old voice!) it used to be only $ .79!! And I could buy gum for $ .01!! Johnston's Feed Store had a penny gum machine that dispensed a handfull of gum squares. Green and red were my favorite. Pink tasted like Pepto Bismol. Blech. Oh, and they had the best sausage... but I digress. :) I just had to share the joy of my gas price!!
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Today I was tidying up around the house- going through the mail and a stack of things I've been reading. Southern Living's new issue arrived recently- I love the food section and the decorating ideas! Oh, and I'm almost through my Cook's Illustrated. What a fabulous magazine! I learn so much about the science behind recipes and what makes a particular food taste absolutely dynamite. For example- did you know that for perfect mashed potatoes, you should steam potatoes instead of boiling them? Rinse them part way through cooking to wash the starch off and they loose the gummy consistency that can ruin otherwise fabulous mashed taters! Great magazine. Then I need to go through the MINT and the Clipper Keeper and clip coupons... a penny saved is a penny earned!
In the midst of this busyness, I had "one of those" moments. I am allowing good things to crowd out the most important things. I love saving money, decorating, gardening and cooking. But those shouldn't be my primary focus! Wow... It's not easy bein' REAL.
The back of my magazine basket reflects what I desire to come first (backwards, I know.) I need to get back to reading Above Rubies (http://www.aboverubies.org/), No Greater Joy (http://www.nogreaterjoy.org/), and Homeschooling Today (http://www.homeschoolingtoday.com/) which point me to God's Word as I strive to be a loving, encouraging wife and an obedient, joy FULL mamma. My bedside desk has Stepping Heavenward and Heaven on it (fantastic reads, both) but they're under a liberal, feminist, junk-filled mothering magazine I received at a Dr's office recently. Well, they were... I took the magazine off today to toss. ;)
So there it is- the reality of daily clutter crowding out what I want to be of FIRST importance. I'm publicly confessing and I'm starting the process (again) of re-orienting my life and my heart to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm so thankful for His mercy, His drawing me and His help in my quest to overcome the CHEESYness of life.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I couldn't resist the urge to write a "headline" for this post. Okay, okay... chocolate wasn't the cause of death. Read on for "the rest of the story."
It all started one beautiful spring day. I was very tired (probably up too late doing a blog the night before?!) and so I headed to the pantry halfway through school for a picker-upper- AKA Dark Chocolate covered Espresso Beans. Mmmmm... Don't worry, baby loves them too. :)
Anyways, I noticed 2 beans laying on the shelf with all the chocolate nibbled off! The children sat around the table with angelic "I swear I didn't touch them" looks in spite of my toughest questions... well, actually Timothy cracked and admitted that maybe he ate them. But his breath passed the sniff test (no coffee or chocolate breath) and so he went off to play with knights.
OK- I'll speed this up a little. :) I noticed nibbles of espresso bean on the shelf- and then nibbles through the plastic. Hmm... I'm no "CSI" but I know fishy (oops- rodenty?) when I see it. The box was tossed and the pantry searched.
Over the next several days I found more evidences of an invader but couldn't locate the critter! She must have been pregnant or PMSing because she went for all the chocolate! She ate the chocolate off of a Twix bar (not the cookie or the caramel, thank you very much) and ate into TWO bags of my Ghirardhelli 60% Cocoa Chips! YIKES! This rodent was annoying AND expensive!
Chris put out a glue board with peanut butter (that's what the pest control people do!), which she crawled on AND off of. :( ICKY! The next night, he baited one with chocolate. Bingo! You see the pix... she was caught! But glue boards don't kill them- they just catch them! (Don't worry, this one was a kinder, gentler glue board with anesthetics!) How'd it die? Let's suffice it to say that Ben kindly put the rodent out of it's misery with his excellent aim.
I spent the next several days taking every single thing out of the pantry, disinfecting the shelves, walls, cans, etc... and tossing everything with critter marks. Ick. The jury is still out on whether it's a rat or a mouse. Do you know? I know one thing- GUILTY.
Monday, April 14, 2008
This photo of a baby about the same age as our little one- isn't it amazing how perfectly formed he is already!? Baby O has fingernails, loves to stretch & wiggle and can hear our voices! The children already talk to him and Andrew blows raspberries on my tummy regularly- which probably feels a bit funny to baby. I guess that's a good way to get him used to all the lovin' he'll get once he makes his debut!!
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Wow, DC is amazing! We had a great time learning, touring, laughing, hanging out with Jenny, eating (did you know Dean & Deluca has great chocolate!?), and just seeing a new part of the country.
It was a bit chilly for this Florida girl (30s to 50s), but truly the Lord blessed us with perfect weather.
The slideshow starts with our drive to Carey & Claudia's in NC. They have such a beautiful home and family! (We miss you guys!) We completed our trip to DC the 2nd day- but had a 2 hour delay when an accident stopped traffic. At least we had a gorgeous view and PB&J ingredients in the van! When we arrived in Gaithersburg late that night, our dear friend Jenny W had beds ready and heaters on- what a blessing.
The tourist pix start at the Mall on Easter Sunday. We celebrated Christ's resurrection at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg. CJ preached a great message (as he is known to do- hand motions and all!) and we all enjoyed worshipping with the CLC church family. Then we headed into town and you'll see some of our stops- monuments, museums and T Rexes- OH MY!
The week was fantastic in every way- even silly mishaps became great memories. When it rained in Annapolis, we took advantage of the Loews Hotel's Playstation and Fischer Price toys to have a fun morning after all. :) That's just one little example of the Lord's goodness and grace over our family as we travelled. Many people called us crazy for driving 12 hours up with 9,6,3 & 1 year olds but we wouldn't change a moment of the trip if we could.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Timbo is sick. :( He woke up tonight at 9:30 in a puddle (that's a huge understatement) of throw-up. Pobrecito!! What made it worse is Ben was snuggled up with him in bed!
I know that is really disgusting- why am I posting this info on my blog? Well, mostly as a reminder to myself! I don't want to forget the "good times". (Yes, it is possible to count it all joy in the midst of very stinky trials! James 1:2)
When I put Timothy in the tub and had most of the sheets off the bed & cleaned up, I woke Benjamin up to move to his bed. Fortunately, he escaped most of the mess. I would love to remember this part forever. He didn't complain about the smell, he didn't whine about being woken up- he just got up and let me change his shirt & moved to his bed. Then, he asked how Timbo was doing. His first thought was for his brother! Then he prayed for Timbo. Oh, be still my mother's heart! There is nothing in this world that can compare with the thrill of seeing my children walk out the things we are striving to teach them. It brings to mind what Ben, then 6 years old, said when Timothy was born on his birthday. "This is the best birthday present ever!"
The icing on the cake for the whole evening was that I had socks with holes in them on my feet and Timbo had PJs I don't like (we've had them since Ben was a baby & they're showing their age) and I'd decided earlier in the day to toss both in the morning after using them one last time. Well, they sure did go out with a bang!! What are the chances?! *grin* So although I know sickness is a consequence of sin here on the earth and we are fully susceptible to illness, I also am aware of the Lord's hand even in the midst of a night of, well, you know.
Oh, gracious. Andrew just threw up. That is a downside of a large family- I could be up all night if they're each 2 hours apart. LOL
Nevertheless, I will give THANKS to The Lord, for He IS GOOD! His love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
This is a miracle in itself. I am so driven to accomplish things that I often miss those special little moments! We stepped into the cool, brisk morning air (another miracle- remember, this is FL!) and he snuggled tighter against me. Andrew and I sat in the adirondack chair and enjoyed each others' warmth- he warm in his blue fleece pajamas and I a bit chilly in shorts.
I could hear Ben, Lauren and Timothy playing and giggling inside. The cool morning breeze carried the sweet scent of the nearby tea olive bush past me and Andrew was so perfectly warm against the chilly breeze that I was lost for a moment in joyful contemplation. Can you imagine that moments like this are just a taste of what heaven will be like?
I thanked the Lord for his kindness in giving Andrew and I this moment together. I thanked him for giving us a glimpse of our future home (heaven). Could life get any better? Apparently! At that moment, a blue heron silently waded past us- just yards away- in the nearby pond. Andrew and I talked about the bird and watched him majestically stride away. Herons are very graceful birds. The beauty of it all, though, was the fact that we were already experiencing a perfect morning- and God added one more thing... it reminded me that Heaven will be just like that. An eternity of seeing new aspects of God, and worshiping Him for them. Eternity of enjoying snuggles with family and crisp mornings overlooking the water as the fog slowly lifts.
As the puritan prayer from Valley of Vision says, "Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity."
Monday, March 3, 2008
Sometimes, instead of changing my expectations and coming up with a creative idea, I fire my Electrothanasia Ray at the nearest victim. I'm so thankful for the Lord giving me creativity today and helping us turn a potentially devestating situation into a fun evening! We needed more than Superman- and my Hero came through again.
My hero with a little "h" is home now- time for dinner!
Thursday, February 21, 2008
I just read a fantastic verse that I plan to pray for this new little Olsen. Psalm 22:10 "On you was I cast from my birth,and from my mother's womb you have been my God."
Isn't that beautiful? I pray that the God who formed this tiny little one be the one he* looks to all his* life.
Until next time!
*he as in the universal, mankind sort of he... we don't know if this baby is a boy or girl yet. :)