meeting wren

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She seems like a peaceful soul, our little Wren, and how is it that someone only days old can look so wise?

She was born March 3.  I slept fitfully the night of March 2nd, dreaming about contractions and labor until a strong contraction woke me straight up at 3:15 am.  I realized I had been contracting through the night mildly, as I had been on and off the last couple of weeks of pregnancy, but this contraction was a powerful jolt.  I lay in bed for a while, resting and waiting, then decided to get up and move around, to see if labor would pick up or die off with a change of activity.  I think I will probably want to remember that I cleaned bathrooms at that point, at around 4 am.  The house was mostly clean and ready so I had to find something to do.  I figured a last minute clean to get it ready for my parents would be a good idea anyway (they would be staying with our kids at our house while we were in the hospital).  I folded laundry, organized, whatever I could, while breathing through contractions.

By 5 am I woke Brandon and said it was time to get moving.  I felt like it was still early to tell, but I didn’t want to wait too long.  I had such a traumatic difficult labor with Noah that I’m always ancy now to get to the hospital quickly and have help on hand rather than wait too late.  I let my parents know to head over as well, and we began to pack up the car.  As we were getting ready to go, our “getaway” car (we were leaving the van for my parents to use with car seats in it for the other kids) wouldn’t start.  I was pacing at the door in the dark, breathing and laughing a bit to myself–of course the car wouldn’t start now.  We took my mom’s car when they arrived and all was well.  We live about 10 minutes from the hospital so it was a quick drive over.  I wasn’t as far along as I had hoped I would be when I arrived, but I progressed almost to full dilation within an hour.  At this point I got the epidural, which was truly amazing.  Actually I think it was a spinal block? but I can’t remember.  All I know is that it is the craziest thing to have experienced natural child birth and then to experience the miracle of meds!  Both have been wonderful experiences.  However, after delivering Noah naturally (at 9 lb 8 oz) and having hours of hemorrhaging afterwards and all the work/meds they had to do to stop the hemorrhage without any pain meds as well as a separated pelvis, I have been too terrified to do it again.  I felt guilty about getting the epidural with Philippa but this time, I felt more at peace about it.  And this experience was, again, amazing.  I was just about in transition when I got it, so to go from that chaos to total peaceful calm was truly incredible.  The doctor kept saying things like “we’ll have a baby soon” and it all still felt totally surreal to me.  In what felt like a few minutes later, after two pushes, baby Wren was born.  There she was, another beautiful girl, so small and fresh and snuggly.

I am so thankful all went well with the birth and my recovery has been normal, which is a great relief and blessing as well!  Wren has done really well, also, and we’ve been well taken care of by family, friends, and our community.

Our stay in the hospital was pretty quiet.  No visitors except my parents.  The biggest bummer was that the kids couldn’t come see us and meet the baby.  The flu and pertussis have been so bad in our area that the hospital wasn’t allowing any visitors under age 18. My parents brought the kids by the road near our room’s window, and they jumped out and we waved and showed them the baby through the window.  So we wanted to wait to announce the baby’s name until we were home, so that they could be the first to hear and so that we could tell them in person.  It’s nice to wait a bit too and see the baby and see if the name fits.

It is the best to see the other children meet the baby for the first time and finally hold her, especially Philippa who was becoming a big “stister” for the first time.  Noah didn’t want to hold Wren right away, but quietly the next day when no one was around he asked if he could.  That first night home from the hospital is historically emotional and weird for me, and it was this time as well, and its just something I have to ride out.  Brandon always amazes me in these times, how well he takes care of me and our family when I’m feeling weak, helpless, and overwhelmed.  I’m convinced and reminded once again how much we need our community around us in times like these, and it’s always amazing to see how God orchestrates things to meet our needs.

yarn along

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I’ve almost finished the baby blanket for Wren, but needed one more skein of yarn to finish the last couple lace repeats in the pattern.  I’m adding length and width to the blanket to make it a more substantial baby blanket.  I’m eager to finish it, block it, and wrap baby girl up in it!  It’s been slower to knit on because I can only work on it when I have almost no distraction around, which is hard in these busy days.

I finished reading A Circle of Quiet (loved it) and was part way through At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider but just couldn’t really get into it for some reason.  I am not feeling ready to be out and about yet so I haven’t made any trips to the library for more books.  Last night I was scouring my shelves for something to read in the bath, and came back to Christie Purifoy’s Roots & Sky.  I forgot how much I loved this book, but a few pages in and I am hooked again.  It’s odd reading it again, almost two years exactly after my first reading, and seeing my notes and thoughts in the margins.  I feel like I’ve changed tremendously in the last two years, and not necessarily for the better.  I read this book before we had bought our home but were in the process of looking and dreaming, and it felt quite significant to read this book about journeying to find “home,” in the midst of that.  Now I come to the book having lived in our first home almost exactly one year.  The reflections I have now are so different as I read Christie’s words about her experience of longing for, looking for, and making home.  I think I believed some of that ache for home would end once we had a place of our own, but I realize now that there will always be a sense of displacement and longing for something indefinable, for what I know to be that far country, that final Home.  Anyway, she is a phenomenal writer, and I definitely recommend this book.

Joining with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.
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welcome, wren josephine


Born March 3 at 8:55 am, 7 lb 11 oz 20 inches long.

wren:  “little conqueror”

josephine:  feminine form of ‘joseph,’ meaning “God will add, God will increase”

In the past few years, I’ve noticed myself paying more attention to the birds.  In these last weeks of February, spring weather has broken in early and the early dark of morning has been filled with birdsong.  Brandon and I rarely agree easily on baby names but when I mentioned “wren” to him, he loved it immediately.  From that point on both of us kept finding ourselves drawn to it and calling her “wren” in our minds.  It seemed fitting that this little baby girl was coming into the world in the spring season, the first of my babies not to be born mid-winter, just like the birds returning to the mountains in spring and filling our mornings with song.  Reading in the psalms lately in the early mornings while I listen to this backdrop of birdsong, scriptures about singing His praise:

God has been teaching me and reminding me to spend time praising Him, to do it as easily and early as the birds do every day, to praise Him even when I don’t feel like it, especially then, because no matter what my circumstances are, He is worthy of praise!  My prayer for our little girl is that her life would be a hymn of praise to Him.

Brandon and I were praying about having another child, and even while we were unsure if we should have any more, God surprised us with her life.  We delighted in that He would add to us, and we pray that He would also “increase” in her life and through her.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.  My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”  Psalm 28:7

“Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them.  You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance…Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!”  Psalm 32:6-7, 11

Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him…Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.”  Psalm 33:1, 3

yarn along


Spring must be here.  There are buds and blooms forming on the trees!

I’ve cast on a flax sweater for our baby girl (my due date is today!!) in the newborn size, though it doesn’t look very newborn-ish to me, and I can’t say for sure if she will need a wooly sweater with all this warm weather here lately.  I’m about to bind of the bottom ribbing and start on sleeves.  We’re all hoping she comes soon!  For now, I’m trying to carry on with life as usual.  Thankfully, three children keep my mind very preoccupied.

Phoebe and I started reading The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street last night for our next read-aloud.  Too soon to say if we like it or not, but she seems intrigued.


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It’s that time where I start to get texts and inquiries from people, where neighbors walk by and holler, “you still here?” and all those last minute projects feel so terribly crucial.  Every day it seems I make a little bit of progress mentally in checking things off my list to be ready for baby.  I’m just a few days away from my due date, but I’m feeling more peaceful about it all than I have with any of my other pregnancies.  Thats a gift from the Lord!  I had a ton of anxiety going into my birth with Philippa after such a traumatic delivery and recovery with Noah.  Because her birth went so much better, I’m feeling more at peace with how this one will go.  Of course, I say that and that could change as soon as labor actually begins!  Pray for me and with me that I would remain at peace, fixed and focused, and full of joy.  I’ve just been feeling more joy and excitement to meet this little one than anything else.  I’m treasuring these last days with her moving around quietly inside, knowing I may never experience this again.  And I’m enjoying good nights of solid rest, knowing those will evade me soon for some weeks.

I appreciate the little bursts of energy and motivation I have some days to get things accomplished that have been waiting for attention for months.  Reorganizing the open shelving in our kitchen.  Hanging new light fixtures as well as treasured photos that have been sitting in boxes since we moved in.  Giving all the kids hair cuts on the porch, and wishing I could squeeze in one for myself.  (I’m desperate enough to be tempted to cut my own.)  I love seeing the little basinet in our bedroom when I glance down the hall, knowing it will have new life in it again soon.  This new little person we don’t know yet, but soon won’t be able to imagine our lives without.  The bursts of energy do help to get projects done, but usually they are followed by days of increased tiredness.  It’s just the rhythm for now, and I’m being gentle with myself in it, for the most part.

Phoebe and I are still working diligently on school, but I can feel myself losing steam and motivation there.  Brandon is starting to take her to her weekly co-op so I can stay home with the littles and the change of schedule is a little weird for us, but also really neat to have him more involved in her schooling.  It’ll only be short-term as I recover from birth and keep the baby home for the first number of weeks.  My parents treated us to a really fancy date the other night, maybe the nicest restaurant we’ve ever eaten at, and we talked so much about our kids and schooling.  His thoughts and observations were really fun to hear and helpful to me, and made me feel like he’s getting a peek into my “work” that helps him understand a bit more of my world.  I love that he’s interested and truly enjoys doing schooling with Phoebe when he gets the chance, and that he has ideas and excitement for our future in it with all the kids.

My parents also gifted us a new BOB stroller which is so generous and helpful, and when they were watching the kids during our date the other night, they all brainstormed name ideas and wrote them all over the box.  Super cute, and I wanted to snap a picture of it so we don’t forget.  We still haven’t 100% decided on a name, I have literally so many I love (few that Brandon approves of, though), and I think as usual we’ll just need to meet her and see what fits.  But don’t give me suggestions!!  We want to name this little one. 🙂

This week has been up in the mid-seventies and sunny here in NC, and it feels so odd to me to be ready to welcome a baby in such weather!  All my babies thus far have been born in the deep middle of winter.  It’s fun and different this time.  I have a feeling this little one wants a March birthday.  I’ll keep you posted, but know that it may be quieter around the blog for a little bit!

yarn along


This cozy little scene by my bed currently bringing me joy.  So I’ve been knitting on a few different projects this week.  It’s funny how a project can sit neglected for awhile and then suddenly you have the desire to pick it back up and finish it.  That’s how it has been with my featherweight cardigan.  I mentioned a few weeks ago that I thought I would run out of yarn for this project and I went ahead and ordered another skein but, of course, the dye lots are drastically different.  As you can see above, the skeins I did have were already pretty different.  I started alternating skeins just toward the bottom of the cardigan where it looks pretty stripey in the photo.  I don’t really mind how it’s looking, but I don’t think I’ll keep alternating skeins on the sleeves so hopefully it turns out ok and not too odd looking.  I’m almost done with the ribbing on the bottom, and then will move on to sleeves.  I’m sort of hoping now to not need to use the extra skein I ordered and just make 3/4 sleeves with the two balls of yarn I have currently going, because the new skein is a much brighter purple.  Maybe I’ll knit a little baby cardigan with the new skein of yarn?  I’m sure I’ll find a use for it.  😉

I finished Francine River’s new book and have been back to reading A Circle of Quiet in the evenings before bed.  I’m really enjoying it.  I so appreciate her thoughts on writing and creative work.

Linking up with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.
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signs of life


Last Friday as well as today we’ve gone for little hikes because both days have been unseasonably warm, sunny, and beautiful.  Actually the last few days this week have been so spring-like and warm, it’s hard to believe it’s mid-February.  Part of me is enjoying it, because who can resist being outside on days like this?  Part of me is a bit sad.. it feels too early, and I still wanted a few more blustery winter days.  Maybe we’ll still have some.  I know everyone seems to love spring the most, and it is irresistible with its bright colors, blooms, sounds and abundance, but I still love dreary winter most of all.  I guess I was assuming this baby would be born in the midst of cold days and nights and somehow it feels wrong for everything to be so warm already.

Anyway, the children are loving it and have been outside as much as they are able during the day.  I’ve noticed the days slowly stretching longer and longer, and what a good effect it has on all of us to have a little more light to enjoy.

Last Friday we went for a short, easy hike at a place nearby called Jump Off Rock.  It was truly beautiful and a great picnic spot, so I was glad I had packed our lunch.  Afterwards the kids stretched out with bare toes in the sun and then climbed around the rocks, finding a little passageway/cave through them.

Our weeks have felt really busy lately, even though I can’t say we have a ton of “activities” going on, per say.  Weekly OB and chiropractor appointments for me, as well as trying to get in our weekly grocery trips (I usually go to at least 3 different stores), homeschool co-op, library trips, other random errands, and school work/house work seem to fill up our days to the full.  I’ve been nesting like crazy, too–working on finalizing things in Noah/baby’s room, like having Brandon make and hang those shelves for me (which I haven’t finished organizing quite yet), organizing boxes of stuff in the school room, etc.  You know, the important things.  Meanwhile, the car seat is still not installed in the car and I don’t have a hospital bag ready or anything like that.  We are delivering at a different hospital than we have with all the other children, and we still haven’t done a hospital visit.  I think we vaguely know where to go.  I’m still trying to knit a few items before baby comes, too.  I feel like my brain is all over the place and I only have 10 days left before due date.  Nothing much is happening yet and I feel mostly normal, just increasingly tired and big.  Something must have changed because now everywhere I go people look and smile and somehow know I’m due any day.  Lots of “ready to pop” comments from strangers.

I am trying to get as much school work done with Phoebe as I can before baby comes and throws a wrench in things.  I’m not sure exactly what we’ll be able to accomplish or how much time we’ll need to take off before I can get back in the rhythm with her, so I’m trying to diligently get in a good solid 4-5 days a week while I can.  She and I seem to have hit a hard spot with math, which has historically been her favorite subject, but as it gets harder she has been “dreading” it, she tells me.  We’ve started doing it first thing in the morning versus the copywork/language arts we normally focus on first thing, but it doesn’t seem to be making much difference.  Maybe having Brandon teach her and fill in a bit while I’m recovering with new baby will be refreshing for all of us?  Reading with her, history, science, art–these are all a breeze and enjoyable for both of us.  Hoping she and I can still spend a good bit of time snuggled up reading while new little baby girl sleeps.

Today we went to a local historic home, the Carl Sandberg home, which we have really enjoyed visiting in the spring/summer months for picnics and to see new baby goats.  With all the flu going around rampant in our area, I’ve been trying to avoid public places so our hikes and walks have been more in the woods and less at parks/playgrounds.  Our hike today was just lovely, and I told the children to be looking for signs of new life.  They saw a pilated woodpecker, new little buds forming, and heard lots of birds singing.  The first set of twin kid goats are due in about a month, so we’ll be back soon to see and play with them.  We’ve been seeing daffodils and crocuses pushing up through the soil on our neighborhood walks, too.  Just before I snapped that picture of the three of them holding hands, Noah had asked Phoebe, who had come back to me to tell me something, to keep having a little conversation with him, and they ran off holding hands.  A sweet little moment.  They spend a lot of time together and there is always a lot of friction between them because of it, but they really adore each other too.  Its always encouraging for me to see the good moments happen.  Don’t worry, the hike ended with its fair share of whining and weariness, and we squeezed in a library visit afterwards, which was probably pushing it being everyone was already “starving.”  But we survived and recovered this afternoon with naps + quiet time spent with fresh library books.