Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lessons on Life and Love

can only come with time.
I'm so amazed that Josh loves me enough he gave up his dream job of becoming a surgeon. It has been a huge sacrifice of his talent and interests. He believed he could be happy in pathology. He knew me and the kids would be.
And, I'm amazed that I love him enough to tell him it is okay to switch back. And it is, it really is. I know it will be hard. Leaving Arkansas will be tearful. But it will be right.
We celebrate 10 years next month. I don't think we could have made such decisions starting out. With time, love is stronger, patience comes, sacrifice is worth it.
I'm looking forward to seeing Josh have a very successful career as a surgeon (after all!)
We don't know details as to where or when his training will start up again for surgery, but it will happen at the right place in the right time. He is setting up interviews.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Bedtime Prayer to Remember

So much to catch up on, but I must write this before I forget. Ammon asked for help with his prayer, which usually means he parrots what I say. Tonight, it changed up a bit.
Me: Dear Heavenly Father
Ammon: Dear Heavenly Father
Me: We thank thee for our blessings
Ammon: We thank thee for my mama
Me: We thank thee for our teachers
Ammon: We thanks for our teacher, mama
Me: We love thee
Ammon: We love our mama
Me: In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Ammon: In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

So, so sweet, I had tears in my eyes! And it makes up for all of the rottenness I put up with!! Love that boy, and all my boys. The youngest who desperately needs a blogpost of his own has a tooth shining through already! Go Vince!

Monday, May 30, 2011

You don't have to go to Washington. . .

Sunday morning we went to the graveyard. We showed the boys the soldier graves and taught them, hopefully, a little about those who sacrificed for our country. Many civil war soldiers are buried here in Arkansas as well as each war since. The graves of the unknown touch me the most.
When we left, Orlando stopped and spontaneously said the Pledge of Allegiance. I felt pride and joy for my country and its future.
I remember:
My dad who served in Korea
My step dad who did land surveying in Panama while in the Army
My grandpa Smith who was a parachute in WWII and a POW -Our son, Vincent, is his name's sake.
I also remember my aunt and Uncle who lived in Hawaii when Pearl Harbor was bombed-it was 3 years before they saw each other again-He went to report to his commander, she was shipped in a zig zag pattern (to avoid submarines) back to CA. She was pregnant and the daughter was 3 when she met her father.
My brother who serves currently in the Army National Guard.

Thank you, Veterans, Soldier, Heroes. May God bless and keep you until we meet again.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Welcome Vincent Ray!

Welcome, Welcome Vincent Ray McElderry!!

April 20, 2011

8 lbs 14 oz

21.25 inches long

In grandma's arms 2 days old.

At the hospital less then 24 hours.

Only minutes old.

Each baby is a miracle and produces beautiful smiles.

Josh got to deliver our baby. It was so special. He always wanted to catch a baby on his OB rotation, but never got the opportunity. Vincent was his first "catch".

My labor was good. I'm weird in that I actually enjoy the process of labor. (Remember, I've had two non-medicated births). Still, this labor tops them all for difficulty because the epidural didn't take correctly and I had extreme back labor for two hours. Although I have labored much longer, I've never labored in this type of terrible pain. Luckily, we had previous experience and Josh kept me breathing although changing positions with numb legs was nearly impossible. The anesthesiologist gave me a new epidural at a 9.5. Then the pain went to zero. It was fantastic. We cracked jokes, asked for a mirror, and let Josh catch the baby. I only pushed for twenty minutes. He wasn't nearly as big as predicted, and pushing (which I have not enjoyed in the past) suddenly became the best part of the entire labor. In fact, it was joyful. No pain, Josh catching and cheering me on---and Vincent.

Isn't he beautiful?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Almost Here

Baby Vincent Ray is almost here. I'll be induced on Thursday. I'm at 40 weeks and have been measuring big. I'd like to go into labor tonight, but if not induction can be a blessing!

So, at times I am second guessing this name-Vincent Ray-I like it, but it is just hard to get used to. I think it is hard to wrap your head around the fact that a new life is coming--who is Vincent Ray? What will he be like? How will he be like his brothers and how will he be different? Will he be our last one, or could I endure another pregnancy? Would it be right to ask myself to? Does Josh care? Does Heavenly Father?
Gee. So much to consider.
I am so thankful that I can have kids and be pregnant. You know 15 percent of couples can't get pregnant? It makes me sad.
And a large percent of children need parents. Josh and I have often talked about adoption when our boys get older. Maybe that is when the daughters will come. Or maybe, just when the boys marry and I get some in-laws and grand daughters.
Okay, back to Vincent. In a few short days he'll be here. Am I ready to take on this responsibility? Perhaps it is 'cause the first three came so close (in 3 years) that this over a 4 year gap seems huge. It's no secret I struggle with the newborn phase. The crying and all the troubles I have with nursing. And then no sleep. I feel selfish-but this is a phase I wish I could skip. Still, this time only one child will be in a diaper-not three! I think this is going to make a difference.
I wonder...
who will he look like:
Orlando-long and skinny at birth jet black hair, slightly jaundice.
Ivan-my Hmong child-he seriously looked Chinese-so squished from the birth canal, more jaundice, and huge-just an ounce shy of 10 lbs and 23 inches!! So long he couldn't fit into several outfits. Hair lighter than Lando's went blond and now is strawberry blond, if not just a red head in the summer.
Ammon-Squishy and blond--still squishy and blond. Big, cute and content.

Vincent??? And then personality wise-will he be smart and sensitive like Orlando? A peace maker and detail oriented like Ivan-or a jokester and cuddle bug like Ammon?
Will he be a Lego boy or a sports boy? Or all together something else?

What challenges will he bring? What joy?

This is the most rambling post ever. Perhaps I should have written in my journal-journal and not my blog, but oh well. Now you know my thoughts.
Just wondering-who is Vincent and how will I do at being his mom? I just feel the weight of that responsibility. I really want to do right by all my children. I get nervous. I feel so much responsibility-Josh says when Lando was born I was super-super protective. I suppose I was. It was a mothering instinct. You want to know where and how your child is---it is----well, I suppose it is called motherhood and a bond I believe to be one of the strongest in the world.
I'm looking forward to meeting and bonding with Vincent Ray--to being a mother.

A lil' Nesting

With spring in the air, time off work, and 9 month pregnancy hormones-nesting is taking place. First, the piano. It was setting bare and boring for so long. But now it has lots of "art". First, a framed piece my mom did with french knots. A kroched piece from my grandma, a family picture I love, some scrap fabrics for color. But my favorite-repurposing these old oval placemats into large spring flowers! My grandma made these from scraps and honestly they are kinda ugly-but how do you get rid of stuff given to you by relatives now deceased-my conscience has struggles. Anyway, my friend Jen, who helped with the jungle, starts rolling them up and walla! a Flower is born. Genius.

What I love is I spent NO money this week. I just gathered stuff around my house that was "springy" and started playing. The recent tornado provided fallen sticks. An estate sale last summer the Easter ornaments and some half off Hobby Lobby the bird art I picked up a few months ago.
I got the old window at a garage sale back in OH and have held onto it. I think it makes a great background.

The downstairs bathroom was not my favorite place. We didn't paint it when we moved in and it just felt yucky. I had a box of Americana stuff from a gargage sale. Jen painted the bottom half navy with paint she had. I added the red chair (which I'd like to put a fern on) and the cute superman picture as well as some American Art.
It looks, and feels so much better.

Yay for nesting-and thanks for helping Jen!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Feeling Groovy and I believe we have a name!

So much stress is gone.
Went to the Dr. My ultrasound average was in the 88th percentile for a baby. Which means he's big-like all the boys- but not up to 95th percentile-which means no C-section!!! yay. phew. Unless of course it becomes medically necessary. But, she reminded me of how I've had big boys before. The largest just under ten.
I'm not sure this one is going to get there though, because she checked me and I am at a 3 already!! Now, it is true I can set at a 3 for weeks, but I'm really really really hoping to just go into labor. I've been having some contractions--so maybe today, tonight, this weekend...but surely not the end of the month!
This is great because I was induced with Ammon, and would prefer to go on my own if possible.

And the other info is that we have a name!! At least I think we do and if Josh backs out on, I think we agree.
Anyway this name is a combo of our maternal grandpas.
Vincent Ray.I like it. It's manly. It's normal, but not too common. We can call him Vince, or even Vinny. And the boys like "sting ray" as a nick name.
Ya, I think it will work. Can't wait to meet him.
Guess it is time to pack a hospital bag...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What to do? What to do?

So, went to my appointment. Baby is big as thought according to tech. I don't have a Drs appointment until middle of next week. She wants me to think about what I want to do. The way I undertand my options are:
1. Induce, have the baby next weekend or early the week of the 11th. Baby will be 38 weeks and fine, lungs may need a little attention, but he'll be fine.
Option 2. Take it easy and keep him in a little longer-look at possibly 11 to 12 pound baby and then c-section or give it a go and try and endure squeezing his head out. Mind you-his head TODAY measures 39 weeks.
Last Friday estimated weight was 7 lbs 7 oz.
Today, Tuesday, estimated weight is 8lbs 1 oz.

He has good fluid, placenta looks good. All is well. He is just large.
What to do? What to do?

I did decide next Friday is my last day at work either way.

I got to see some 4D pictures and he has the cutest cheeks and lips. I'm so excited to meet him!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pregnancy Update

So three weeks ago I had the sweetest dream. I went in for a checkup and the doctor replied, "OH my, you are crowning! Go ahead and give a little push" So I did and out came a 6lb 4oz cute dark headed, pointy-nosed boy. I held him and he rooted around for the milk, but just gave me tons of little kisses because his lips were so puckered. It was the absolute sweetest dream.
Then, reality hit. I went in for a real check up. I'm measuring large. I'm not diabetic, and my blood pressure is good. I haven't measured large at previous checkups, but his guy seems to have grown some. In fact, she figures he is over 7.5 pounds! Babies often put on a lb a week the last month-not necessarily-but often. If this were to happen I'd be looking at a 11-12 pound baby!! Yikes! I really don't want the birth trauma of that experience.
I'm going in tomorrow for an ultrasound. I'm pretty excited to see some good pictures of him this far along (maybe it will help with a name?). I'm also curious if with a better ultrasound he will still measure so large. If he does, I'll be on a fetal monitor once a week and they'll keep an eye on the placenta, fluid and stuff just to make sure all is well.
We'll also probably start talking options. I was induced with Ammon and really would like to go into labor naturally. On the other hand, being induced a few weeks early sounds great! But then again, is he still gaining some ground by staying in the womb as long as possible in which case I should let him keep growing and then what? Possibly face a c-section.
Good grief. Why is being a mom so hard. Always want to do right by your kids, but not sure where or what that is. Guess I'm just waiting for more information. Hopefully tomorrow will give me some answers.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


I am loving how this project turned out. It was my first time to tackle something so big-an entire room!! My friend, Jen, who I had only just met, convinced me of the need to celebrate a fourth boy-she is qualified to do this having four boys of her own. Plus she loves to decorate and the wall tatoos were 90% off! She painted in a few areas that needed more than a tatoo and spent hours helping me make decisions and rub on tatoos!
My friend Emberlee gave the cute stuffed animals. Lisa and Emily did some tatoo rubbing. So did Josh, and he put in a dimmer over the changing area so we don't blind the baby. He also spoiled me in letting me get a great chair. My friend Terri did the vinyl letters and we added butterfly tatoos and crickets into them making it all come together. I'm just thrilled with it. Without friends and sales, and second hands, there is no way I could have pulled this off. Thanks everyone!
Oh ya, the words around the room are the lyrics to a hymn and say, "All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all."
That was 100% my idea (about the only thing that I can claim credit for).
Again, thanks everyone for helping our family get excited for this lil' guy.
If your in the area, please stop by and take a look! I can't find my camera (need to before baby comes) so the pictures from my phone really aren't the best.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sweet Moments

I want to take a minute and record some sweet moments I've had with the kids before I forget them. I don't have pictures, these are just that--moments.
Orlando and Ivan have both given talks in primary. In each case, they had their own ideas and thoughts and expressed love for Jesus.

Ammon continues to talk to my growing belly each day. He often gives him a voice and speaks for him. He has shared his food with him, brought a blanket for him, told him he is funny, and also once insisted it was his turn for family prayer and so, Ammon said the prayer in "baby" voice. Adorable.

Orlando decided to fast for the first time. He just skipped breakfast. I thought this was really impressive and didn't really encourage this (after he is baptized in Nov. I'll encourage breakfast, but this seemed early). I wasn't real sure why he was doing this (I knew Josh had talked to him). Anyway, he went to pray before lunch and included "thank thee that I can fast and get to know Jesus better."

Finally, I made the mistake? of showing the Velveteen Rabbit to my kids for movie night Friday (Josh was working late). I remembered loving the book as a child and even trying to be good enough to my animals that they might come alive. Well, this movie started a fountain of tears. Orlando because of how much he loves his stuffed animals especially Lion. Ammon because the fire was so sad, and Ivan started crying "because my brothers are so upset."

In trying to deal with this, I came to the conclusion it was okay for them to cry. They were just feeling emotion and love. I think the world has us push our feelings away too often. I want my boys to be emotional and loving. Not wimpy or winey, but I want them to feel love and pain and sadness and happiness. To recognize good and to recognize when someone hurts-to mourn with those that mourn as Ivan was doing.
I'm so thankful for these children. I do hope that they will each have a personal testimony at a young age-just a simple one. One that Jesus lives. One that life is eternal. One that life has a purpose.

Friday, March 18, 2011

My lil' King

Sometime back in the busy month of December Ammon was the cutest lil' wiseman. His line was "We bring gifts to honor his birth." He said his line and sang his songs with such gusto.
He was so cute and sweet! Great performance!

Ivan turned SIX!!

Ivan turned SIX!!! We had a small family party with a Scooby cake made at the last minute!
More than anything this year-and I mean ANYTHING-Ivan wanted a party at The Jump Zone. He wanted friends and cousins to come and he wanted to sit in the "king chair". In the past we've done family parties or had friends to our home. It was new to go somewhere and invite more people. I tried dropping all kinds of hints. But, Ivan said I didn't need to get him a present, just have a Jump Zone Party. So, we did. I'm posting just a few of the pictures of him posing in the king chair. I actually forgot my camera, so these are with my phone and I don't have any of the kids jumping. But, there were friends, there was family, there were cupcakes, and presents, and a King Chair!! He had a blast! He also lost his first tooth the week he turned six!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Student Log Cabins!

Inspired by our quilt block of the month, I decided to challenge my high school students to make one! Enjoy the photos!
Oh, I should add made completley from scraps in my room-I was impressed!

Showered with Love

So sometime during the hectic week after Christmas my sweet Sisters in law threw me a baby shower. They helped me get excited about having a boy. It was simple and elegant. I felt very loved. We had a delicious meal with a homemade salad dressing I'm still craving. Great food and dessert. Then we spent time crafting! We decorated some onsies and made some bibs for our new one as well as Tasha's new one. I love having such a nice extended family. Even though we are all spread out FL, MI, AR etc, it was nice to let the ladies have an evening together. I think it demands a repeat! And if Josh had to have so many brothers, I'm glad they married well!! Plus Katie and Liz and Kathryn are great. Thanks everyone, and I love you!!

Meet Ave

Ave is my little California niece. I spent some time with her over Christmas. She is a very typical two year old with some strong opinions of her own! I was glad she warmed up to me after a while. I'm sure it was hard traveling so far.
I was so bummed when I found out I was having a boy, that I let some of my girly girly stuff come out on her. I enjoyed making her this cute skirt, and Katie decorated a shirt to match. She loved it. I also had her name in the gift exchange and picked out a floral, girly raincoat that she seemed to like.
Hopefully they can visit again soon.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

We like Dessert!!

We made a gingerbread house as a family-the boys, me, Aunt Melissa and Grandma.
It was really fun! These snowman melting cookies were a hit for the kids parties at school-and so fun to make!!

Josh made the most delicious cheesecakes for teachers and neighbors.

For Thanksgiving I was in charge of dessert. Yummy!

Josh also shared cheesecake with us-I really liked this one a lil' almond flavor with a homemade strawberry sauce. Mmmm.

November Birthdays

I had a great time planning this party. I told myself over and over again to keep it simple and I think we did. The Lego pops were fun, but easy and the cake was simple too!

November 2010

Orlando turned 7 on the 7th and Ammon turned 4 on the 3rd. We celebrated with a very fun, very awesome Lego Birthday Party. In addition to getting a good start to a great Lego collection, we had Lego games-the most fun being building a bridge to hold an egg!! Then on the porch testing them-having an earthquake and letting them crack open!! The pinata was also a hit!

We made Lego pops, Lego cakes, and had a "loaded" hot dog lunch. I'm glad I threw the party and they had several friends able to enjoy their special days.

My mom came into town which was great 'cause usually with Thanksgiving and Christmas she doesn't make the Nov. Birthday celebration.

My boys are growing up...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Crime Scene

When the weather is warm, and the mom is nauseous, children are left to create their own games outside. Crime Scene has been a favorite this fall.

Highlights of Teaching

My students had the opportunity to enter a gingerbread contest. The benefits went to help a center for the sexually abused in Little Rock. It tied in perfectly to our unit on child abuse, and service in the community-plus it was fun. Two of my favorites were the AR Stadium and a Starbucks. The kids worked hard, raised a little money, and the stadium got first place in the high school age division.
The sign, garland, and little green umbrellas really show how they got into the detail!!
My sewing class also went well with students finishing up their fleece blankets. I'm still a novice sewer, but I love the thrill of a finished product. Seeing them go from turning the machine on, to a complete blanket is so rewarding. I know some of them will take up quilting in the future!

Other highlights can't be shown in photos. Things like students asking you for advice, and actually listening, confiding a pregnancy or STD, or abuse. Having a student give up alcohol or tobacco, or premarital sex. (When you teach things like Parenting and Human Relations-stuff comes up). Being a trusted adult in their lives is a blessing for me. Not sure how having another baby will affect my career, but I know this was right for this year!

August 2010

Time for some updates. We've got snow on the ground here in Little Rock ,which is rare, but exactly what I needed for a little Blog-Mojo.

Pictures of the first day of school. Orlando is in first, Ivan in K, and Ammon is going to a wonderful little Methodist preschool near the house that we love. Orlando loves math, but detests writing, though a decent speller. Ivan has tested out of any therapies and is doing great. His teacher works them very hard, and I worry about him getting too tired and then off balance, but he is doing well. I am so glad and remember often what a blessing it is for him to be doing so well. He is in the advanced reading group in his class. Ammon has his teachers wrapped around his fingers, and often earns the most "good behavior" stickers.
I love raising boys!
Josh started his pathology residency in July. He has a love/hate relationship with it. So glad he is doing it, but still missing the hands on a patient contact that came from surgery.
I went back to work. A perfect decision, with an ideal job that allows me to drop off and pick up my children from school, teach what I love, and hopefully influence some of the youth. Two days after starting this "perfect" job which I am sure the Lord put in place for me-we discovered I wasn't late due to stress of the job-no, I was pregnant!! HUGE SHOCK!!