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Freely Rain Lilias Skipper

Freely Rain Lilias Skipper

Sept. 7th, 2012 @ 12:04 am

8 lbs. 2 oz, 21 in.

“Freely you have received; freely give.”  Matt. 10:8

Freely Rain came into our lives during a lightning storm that turned into a rainy next day after being in her Mommy’s tummy through a summer drought–I believe her entry is a very prophetic one for the Skipper family. 

Her name

Freely:  BJ & I are forever grateful to God for setting us free from our sin and the way we lived our lives in the past so the concept of “freedom” has been one we love.  When searching for a unique name from the Bible, I came upon this verse and it just seemed perfect. “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”  Matt. 10:8

Rain: This part of her name is full of meaning.  Rain in terms of  God freely “reigning” in her life; God “raining” down his righteousness–“You heavens above, rain down my righteousness” Is. 45:8; and most of all the Holy Spirit and his outpouring being symbolized by rain in the Bible.

Lilias:  It took us a little bit to be 100% on this name but it just seemed right.  Lilias Trotter was a famous artist who gave up her career to become a missionary to Africa.  You can read more about her here.  Her book, Parables of the Cross, is available to read online.  Her life and convictions deeply moved us and we thought it fitting to name her after someone we greatly admire and pray we AND our children can “dare to have it out with God” as she challenges below.

“Never has it been so easy to live in half a dozen good harmless worlds at once—art, music, social science, games, motoring, the following of some profession, and so on. And between them we run the risk of drifting about, the “good” hiding the “best.”

It is easy to find out whether our lives are focused, and if so, where the focus lies. Where do our thoughts settle when consciousness comes back in the morning? Where do they swing back when the pressure is off during the day? Dare to have it out with God. . . and ask Him to show you whether or not all is focused on Christ and His glory.”  Lilias Trotter

Lilias is also a form of the name/word “Lily”–“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  Matt. 6:28-34

Her Story

While  hanging out at Mom & Kevin’s Thursday evening I had a couple of contractions but they weren’t any different than ones I’d been having throughout the last couple of weeks so I wasn’t sure if it would turn into the “real” thing or not.  We stopped by the dollar store around 8:00 pm, chatted with friends in the parking lot and I had a couple more contractions–all I wanted to do was go home and go to bed in case it DID progress.  We came home and I called Mom and asked her to just come out and stay the night in case it was the real deal.  Because our midwife didn’t make the last birth we knew we had to make the decision early on to call Cheryl if we wanted her to make this one–which we desperately did!!  So I called Cheryl, she told me to lie down and time them and call her back in 15 minutes.  About 10 minutes later, I called her–they were 4-5 minutes apart!!  They had not been that close together just 20 minutes ago.  So now I’m starting to panic, thinking she’s not going to make it again.

I was more nervous entering into this birth than ever before–Cheryl called me back and we talked and I think she was so right–I was processing Willow’s birth and all that happened with that.  God was soooo good to us with Willow, to graciously allow her to be delivered by her Daddy and even with some minor complications be absolutely perfect–but I think I was afraid that something was going to go wrong this time.  We called Kristie McKee (my aunt AND friend) and she came out along with Mom.  Once they were here and I knew Cheryl was on her way, my contractions slowed down to 8-10 mins. apart and I was able to relax.

(this pic was about 11:00 pm)

Cheryl & her midwife-in-training, Lily, got here and they just let me labor–my friend, Chrissy, came as well and Ali was on her way.  BJ put the kids to bed (Shiloh cried so much because she wants to be a midwife and she wanted to see the “whole thing not just the end”–sweet girl!)  and he & I stayed in the bedroom.  The contractions were about every 4-5 minutes apart and I was having back labor so he was rubbing my back the whole time.  The contractions were painful but not overwhelming or something I couldn’t handle or talk in between.  Around 11:40 or so I just immediately felt like I had to push–it was the weirdest thing.  The contractions never got one on top of one another like I was expecting or completely out of my pain tolerance.  I said I wanted to get into the pool and so I did.  I asked Cheryl, “Can it be like that?  Just be having pretty decent contractions and then feel like you have to push??”  She said, “Yes, Aubin, it’s just a really good birth.”  I still couldn’t get my head around it.

I labored a little in the tub, feeling like I needed to push.  Classic labor line–when the baby’s head was crowning BJ said something like, “it’s crowning” and I was like, “I want the WHOLE baby out”–lol!  Apparently I could’ve cared less about the crowning.  gotta love those real, crabby moments I have when it’s almost done :)  I pushed through a few contractions and sweet Freely came into the world!  I brought her up out of the water–she had the cord around her neck, but not tightly.  Cheryl unwrapped it, Freely let out a cry and then so did I :)  I was nervous because of the cord and was wanting her to cry more–Cheryl asked if I wanted her to make Freely mad so she would cry and like the loving Mom I am, I said “YES!”  I feel kind of bad now but I just wanted to know she was okay.   Judah & Shiloh had wanted to be in there when I had the baby so they had come in but when I was pushing it bothered them so they waited in the hallway.  Everyone came in right after she was born–Ali got there a few minutes later, saying “Did I miss it again??” (she missed Willow’s birth by minutes as well.)  Here are her/our first few moments:

    

The Skipper Tribe

Once again, we are so grateful to the Lord for His goodness.  Thank you to everyone who prayed for and encouraged us.

Dear Jon,

Well, I it’s no secret to you I’ve written and rewritten this letter to you in my mind over and over again.  And while the original plan was to hand it to you on paper (soaked in tears I’m sure!), I felt you deserved a little–no a lot–more honor than that.  So I’m publishing it on my blog.  Not because I am eloquent with my words  (or that you’ve my favorite or anything crazy like that)…but simply because it’s what I know I’m to do.  So here goes…

Tonight you’re in your college dorm, moved away from Pleasanton for the first time.  I’m guessing you’re a little scared–maybe a lot–excited, nervous, ready…a lot of emotions all in one.  And those of us left back here, well I know how I’m feeling so I can just imagine your mom & dad :)  But thankfully we’re all trusting in the One who knew you before you were born, who created you in the womb…remember your Mom’s prayer?  “And I thank you Lord that Johnnea is fearfully and wonderfully made?” (Ps. 139:14).  Tonight I pray that you would “Know that FULL WELL”  Did you know “full well” there is defined as “exceedingly, greatly, very, up to abundance”?

I want to say thank you for so many things…the first of that being your faithful attendance to youth group, to functions we did, etc.  Not just attendance but attendance with enthusiasm and joy.  You have truly been the joy and encouragment every youth worker dreams about having.  You have spurred BJ & I on in our discouragment, wondering if we were making a difference in anyone’s life at all.  Thank you so much for that.

Thank you for being a model of a Christian girl to our daughters—and our son.  Our girls think you hung the moon–thank you for giving merit to that.  Thank you for being modest in your dress, that I never ONCE have had to worry about our girls modeling their styles after yours.  Thank you for being the kind of woman Judah could look up to and hope to marry one day.  Thank you for babysitting them and not just watching them but truly loving them.

Thank you for fun personality.  Thank you for laughing at my jokes.  Thank you for making this 34 year old mom of five feel like she’s still alive and fun!  Thank you for making me feel loved and that my words had value to you.  Thank you for finally realizing purple is IT!

As I’ve watched you journey through high school and have known firsthand that it hasn’t been easy for you, these verses have been one close to my heart for you:

   13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14

What an honor is to count you among the “few”. 

You have not caved to peer pressure.  You have not let go of your high standards.  You have not hurt or let others down along the way.  You have shown Christ to those of us who know you and I am so proud of you for that.   

I truly believe God was showing you the narrow road in high school so that you’d know what it looked like now as you are off to college.  Your Mom’s vision of the tennis shoes lines up so right on with that.  You are being sent out, friend.  Sent out to be a bold witness for the one you serve. 

As you go, I’m praying for BRAVERY for you.  All day I haven’t been able to get Nicole Nordeman’s song “Brave” out of my head…and now I know why.  The first words always get me, “The gate is wide, the road is paved in moderation.  The crowd is kind and quick to pull you in”…but there’s nothing like the chorus, “

So long status quo
I think I just let go
You make me want to be brave
The way it always was
Is no longer good enough
You make me want to be brave

BRAVE

Words can’t tell you how much I’m going to miss seeing your face around here but I’m counting on some sweet quality time of games and laughter when you do come home.  And the fact that your summers will be spent with us overseas–well, I find comfort in that :)

I love ya girl…

enjoy the song and the trip down photo memory lane–

aubin :)

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Alex

I’m not sure why I have put off writing this post for so long…I said I would do it not too long after Alex’s accident and then every time I sit down to type it all out, I don’t know, I’m just overwhelmed.  I am probably still in a state of shock, trying to grasp that this young, gorgeous, smart & active individual is now trying to recover from a severe brain injury.

I, along with my whole family, have been blown away by how many people genuinely care and are praying for her.  It’s amazing, really.  So many of you were right there, encouraging us along when Dad has his accident, and now here you are, supporting again.  Thank you.

First of all, let me just lay out the “family dynamics” for those of you who don’t know our family.  I have referred to Alex as my sister throughout this whole thing–and she is.  While technically she is my stepsister, I have long hated the word step since it seems to carry along with it negative connotations (at least in my mind). I had this fear some who knew me might not give my sadness over her accident as much merit since she isn’t my full-blooded sister, etc.  At the same time, I would never want to place myself in a situation where people think Alex & I are best friends.  We have our own kind of relationship, just not one where we talk on the phone or chat about life every day :)

Enter “family dynamics” chart:

Kevin with children Audrey, Adam Christian, Abby & Alex marries my mom, mother of me, Ali & Adam David.  Got it? A regular ole Brady Bunch if you will, established in 1998.  Alex was 8 years old when Mom & Kevin got married–the same age as my Zoe, and she’s the youngest of our crazy bunch.  We were two separate families, both coming into this new family with our own set of hurts.  Us as children from a divorce, them as children whose mother, Michele, had died in a car accident.  I’ll be honest in saying there were many times I felt the “step” part of our family, meaning it was hard.  Yet over time, they began to feel like siblings to me.  I cannot imagine my life without them; I feel like God has blessed me so much in this.  It’s so funny to think about–Audrey, Adam & I rode the school bus together back in the day, Aud & I cheered together! There was no way I could’ve ever known when I heard about their mom dying they would one day become family of mine.  But God has a funny way sometimes so now here we sit.

Mom was here at our house when Kevin called her to say Alex had been life flighted to Wichita following a horse accident (she was going to college @ Fort Hays, that’s why she went to Wichita).  The whole moment is such a blur; I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me.  I was trying to grasp what was going on, the kids were crying, Mom rushing out the door in a panic.  It’s still so unimaginable.  I called BJ at youth group, he rushed home and said we were going to Wichita to see her.  I was literally trying to figure out what we would find out once we got there; Mom & Kevin were already on the road and still no one knew ANYTHING.  It was horrible.  We left the kids with dear friends of ours, picked up Ali & Ashley and headed out.

We heard along the way Alex had arrived at the hospital and was alive but still unconscious.  We entered into a waiting room where already so many were gathering–Obviously Kevin & Mom, Abby, Edward Lee & Laura, Alex’s rodeo coach & wife, a few friends, Aunt Patty & Uncle Glen, Kim & Tim Ohls, Robin & Lyndsey (right??)…I can’t remember who else.  Adam David left to come not long after we left Pleasanton, Adam Christian was driving from Texas, and Audrey was on a cruise with her husband so we were trying to get a hold of her.

Many of you have asked exactly what happened so here’s the short story:  Alex is on the rodeo team at Hays, she’s been riding horses for as long as I’ve known her.  She & her friend Sam had gone riding in the pasture, I think Sam said they were about 1/2 mile out.  Alex’s horse Eazy basically died out from under her (heart attack, maybe, we’re not 100% sure).  Eazy fell to the side and knocked Alex to the ground and she hit her head.  She was knocked unconscious, the horse was on her leg.  Sam could not get Alex out from underneath the horse so she road back to the arena where she got the assistant rodeo coach and they came back to Alex who was still unconscious.  I’m not sure when they called 911, Abby, etc.  I know the decision was made to not have an ambulance try to get to her because the snow had been melting and it would’ve been muddy so they called a life flight instead–such a God thing considering she needed to be taken to Wichita.

At this point, days start running into one another.  I can only speak for BJ & I personally, but we were thinking for awhile we were just waiting for her to wake up.  When we left to come back home on Tuesday sometime, she was still unconscious and we didn’t have any answers.  On Wed. morning they did her MRI and the doctors informed the family Alex had a diffuse axonal injury.  I had never even heard of that, but you can google it and find out more than you ever hoped you’d have to hear in your lifetime.  Not good.  The Lord worked it out to have some precious church members of ours to be at the hospital when the news was broken to the family.  As the time approached for the MRI results and doctors were making their rounds, I finally broke down for real for the first time.  I was in our bathroom while they kids watched TV, I had the door shut and was crying out to God, begging Him for Alex’s life to be restored.  When they relayed  the MRI results to me, I felt such deep, intense sadness but it wasn’t overpowering, either.  I am still very hopeful God will continue to restore her and use her even though the “odds” are stacked against her.

Then again, what were the odds that a man could be crucified on a cross and raised from the dead three days later??  This is the God we’re clinging to for hope and restoration of Alex.

Tonight we are hours away from being three weeks out from her injury.  She has made progress, God’s glory has abounded and yet I am so very heavy hearted.  Not because of my belief or lack of faith but for the reality of her situation right now.  I know God can do whatever He wants to do with Alex, with all of us for that matter.  But tonight, two parents are watching in agony their daughter in a helpless state.  I can relate to what they are going to as far as my mind & heart will allow but the truth is, I have never had a child in Alex’s situation and so I cannot even imagine their pain. Questions and concerns can be consuming and I’m praying Jesus will give them the strength to see them through this trial.

Tonight I have three siblings whom I love to the depths of my soul who are dealing with tragedy in their lives not for the first, but for a second time.  I am so aware of the unfairness of it all and my heart aches for them.  Yet I’m watching them cling to Jesus.  I’ve seen Adam Christian step into a role I wish I’d never had to see him in but I am so very, very proud.  He was (and is) a rock to Kevin & Mom, a voice for Alex and to all of us as to what was going on with her.

So right now I feel heavy & hopeful all in the same moment.  My thoughts & emotions are equal to our a family:  a hodge podge!

Thank you so much for your prayers for Alex.  Please, I beg you, don’t stop.  We are believing God for James 5:15 a which says, “And the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.”

Stay updated on Alex on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/TeamAlexandra


Shiloh

I wanted to tell everyone about Shiloh’s decision to follow Jesus yesterday.  For many months now she has been talking about having Jesus in her heart.  BJ & I had not taken advantage of this by talking about it more or less but we made a note in our conversation that she was beginning to ask questions, become aware of what that meant, etc.  For the past couple of months the kids have prayed for “all the people who don’t have Jesus in their hearts”.  We’ve been asking them to get more specific recently, praying for people by name.  Even Shiloh was praying for people! And starting in January we began praying through Operation World with the kids. Shiloh has even said during school sometimes, “You know I do have Jesus in my heart.”  I wasn’t sure what to do with that information but talked with BJ about it and we just decided to wait for her to come to us.  We have never wanted our kids to feel pressured or prompted by US into following Jesus.  Zoe & Judah have prayed consistently for Shiloh & Olive to accept Christ, now adding Willow to that mix :)

Yesterday at church I saw her teacher start to take her downstairs.  I didn’t know why she was but I felt SO strongly the prompting of God to go and get her.  I wasn’t sure why but I just knew I needed to go talk to her.  Obviously, God knew why. Shi said she wanted to come with me into church and so I let her.  It was during our communion meditation time and she was sitting on my lap.  She asked why we had communion and I shared that with her.  Then she started to tear up and cry and said “I hope someday I can have Jesus in my heart”.  I said, “Shiloh, you can.”  Then she asked me what she had to do.  I explained to her that it’s about believing Jesus is the Son of God and how we need Him.  I led her in a sweet childlike prayer.  Afterward I said to her, “tell Mommy what else you know about Jesus.”  She said, “That He died on the cross for me.”  Sweet girl!  She ran over to tell BJ who immediately was in tears.  It was a very sweet moment.

I’m not sure if you’re struggling with wondering whether her salvation experience is “real” or not.  I know for us, we believe in the sincerity of it.  However we are well aware she will have to “work out her salvation” as she grows.  We do not in anyway consider this a  “done deal”, ticket to heaven.  But we DO believe God has been beckoning to her little heart for many months now and who are we to “hinder the little children”?? We even spoke to two different people in our church (one an elder and the other a bible study leader) who both affirmed their belief that it’s us as adults who make salvation hard.  We’re asked to “believe” not “understand”.  Annette said to me last night, “Aubin, why wouldn’t she want to know have a relationship with Jesus?  She’s grown up in a home where Jesus has been talked about since birth and modeled before her?”  That was HUGE for me~oh I pray we have modeled that.  So many times we’ve failed.  But I know Zoe & Judah were both very young and we have seen fruits in their life that their decision was real.

I also received an email this morning from our great friend & mentor Dave Cole who said, “I have every confidence that this sweet little girl has embraced Salvation!  Continue keeping the Lord before your family, God will greatly bless you all!
From the Shema/Great Commandment (see below), I am always reminded we cannot talk enough about the Lord with our Children! Keep up the great work! I look forward to a similar e-mail (at least) two more times!

Deut. 6:4-9 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.

so thanks for rejoicing with us!  Please pray for her and that we can lead her in the right way.

Hello 2011

I honestly cannot believe it’s already a new year!  to be honest, and lets face it, that’s the whole point of this blog, 2010 was one of if not THE hardest year of our marriage.  Not necessarily for us as a couple, although like any couple we had our ups and downs.  But it was just a HARD year.  We have been humbled, we’ve needed & received help, and our God has been faithful to us.  BJ had seven, yes SEVEN, teeth extracted, suffered the pain of those teeth causing him trouble and then got dry socket following both surgeries.  The spider bite literally wiped out months of my life.  Soooo frustrating (to say the least!).  Nevermind the random sting, infections, & other physical ailments I had I can’t even remember now! We had our issues with Olive,  Zoe was in for doctors tests regarding a lump behind her ear, and of course pregnancy & a new baby always spice things up a bit!  BJ actually refers to 2010 as “The Year of Affliction”!!  We are fully aware it’s not been as bad as it could’ve been, people have it so much worse.  But for us, there was some definite sifting involved!  And yet, we’re still standing.  Praise the Lord.

Everyone has their struggles, the things that God is using to draw us to Him and to refine us.  God has asked us to hand over our children, our lives, our futures, our finances and TRUST Him and have FAITH to follow Him.  Those things have required our hands to be pried open more than we thought and who knows what further prying lies ahead?  What we do know is we serve a faithful God who loves us deeply (like a hurricane!) And whatever He is leading our family into, He is preparing us in the NOW to be able to handle what is coming.

On a lighter note, best moment of 2010??  Most definitely the birth of our sweet Willow!! What would we do without her? Can’t even imagine and we’ve only known her for two months today :)

We’ve been blessed by God with five amazing children.  I never imagined I’d be the mom to FIVE kids and yet here we are.  And I am thrilled.

This May, BJ & I will have been married for ten years.  Unbelievable.  I still remember the first time I saw him (which involved me ignoring him due to his hotness and I was NOT going to be another girl who fell at his feet….or I was :) I can’t imagine life without this God fearing man.  I trust him to lead our family toward God..

I’ve started a new scrapbooking project called “Project Life” which I’m REALLY excited about.  I’m hoping to blog more…I might even finish Part 3 of this post. I don’t know if I will but here’s to hoping!

These verses are now blown up, waiting to be framed and put on our wall.  We’re believing this is a word from God for us as a family:

“I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar–the LORD of hosts is his name.  And I have put my words in your mouth and covered you in the shadow of  my hand, establishing the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth, and saying to Zion, “You are my people.” Is. 51: 15-16

Friend, are you part of his people?  I pray you are.  Once Jesus captured my heart, He’s never let me go–and He never will.  What an amazing thought–the GOD of this Universe cares about this small town girl.  He plucked me up out of the depths.  He’ll do the same for you.  Run to Him.  With everything you are.

Happy 2011.

 

 

Willow Jeanetta Rose

Willow Jeanetta Rose

8 lbs. 7 oz, 21 1/2 in. long

born Nov. 2, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

delivered at home, by her Daddy…

“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams.”

Is. 44:3-4 ESV

The Story

I can’t figure out why I haven’t already been on here posting about Willow’s birth–the only thing I can figure is that I am still on complete SHOCK over the whole thing!

Everything about this pregnancy has been so up and down–the spider bite (do I take the steroid or not, etc., etc.), her position (head down, head sideways, etc. etc.), my iron (up/down, up/down), should we just go to the hospital or have her at home (back & forth, back & forth)…I could not wait to have this baby in my arms just so I’d know she was okay!  I had some contractions Friday night that I just knew would turn into me holding a baby–they did not.  So when I started having the same type of contractions Tuesday morning, I didn’t think I would go into labor.  But I felt like I should go ahead and tell BJ because he was working an hour away and didn’t want to press the time more than we had to.  I told him he would have to decide if he wanted to come home from work because they were so similar to Friday nights (anywhere from 10 to 12 minutes a part–we’re talking eeeaarrrly labor, the kind you don’t usually keep track of!).  He decided to come on home considering I was due (I don’t say overdue because even though my “due date” was Oct. 26th, I wasn’t exactly sure on that date and according to our midwife Willow had no signs of an overdue baby).

He got home around 10:45 or 11:00 am.  My contractions stopped about noon.  Great–I was feeling horrible that I had even called him and told him anything!  So about 1:30pm, I decided to take a nap.  I woke up with a strong contraction but was able to go back to sleep.  Then 30 minutes later, the same thing happened.  Fell back to sleep again.  20 minutes later, again.  This time I decided to tell BJ.  It was probably around 3:00 pm this time.  I started walking around, I was feeling contractions and they were getting stronger but were very irregular.  At 3:30 BJ called our midwife Cheryl to say he was pretty sure I was really in labor and then called my Mom to have her come out.  He went down to blow up the pool for our water birth and I hollered for him at 3:40 to say they were really starting to hurt (where’s my pool, my only source of pain relief???–ha!).

He put the pool in our room and started filling it (takes way to long when you really need it!).  I honestly felt like I could feel the baby move down.  I got in the tub for about three contractions when I felt like I needed to push.  He called Cheryl to see where she was and tell her I needed to push (he never once freaked out, but bless his heart).  He mentioned something to her about him telling me to not push until she got here–I started to almost cry and said “Please don’t tell me not to push!” Thankfully Cheryl said to him, “BJ, your wife knows when she’s having a baby.  If she has to push, she has to push”  Bless her. The next thing she said to BJ was, “BJ, I am not going to make it to this birth in time.  You can either call 911 and have an ambulance come or you can deliver the baby.”  He made the choice to deliver (with Cheryl walking him through things on the phone when needed).

She also told him that if I was planning on doing a water birth again, we needed to know that once the baby’s head was out, the next contraction the baby had to be out and come up out of the water or he would have to get me out of the water no matter how much pain I was in, position, etc.  In my heart, I just knew God was telling me to get out of the water; no water birth this time.  Anyone who has ever had a water birth or used water as pain relief knows this is not normal.  But God was so good to speak so clearly to me that I climbed right out.  BJ was in total shock.  I leaned by the side of our bed.

BJ called my mom in from watching the kids and said we were about to have a baby.  She called my Dad & he came up and watched the kids.  Even up to this point, my contractions were so irregular.  The last contraction before I started pushing was six minutes before.  It was just so weird!  Not saying it wasn’t painful–it was!  But just very different than any other labor, almost as if there was no transition or something (no water breaking until pushing, either).

It was so surreal, the whole thing.  I started pushing, head came out.  Next contraction here would come baby…or not.  Basically, she was stuck ( a very mild case of shoulder dystocia).  It was the weirdest thing to be pushing with everything in me and nothing was happening.  BJ had Cheryl on the phone again (they had gotten disconnected after the head came out) and I she said to me on the phone, “Aubin you have got to push the baby out”.  I could tell by her voice and BJ’s & Mom’s seriousness this was a very big deal.  Finally, after one minute and a maneuver BJ made by lifting up on her head, she came out.  4:43 pm.  It seemed like an eternity (mom & BJ said later toward the end Willow was starting to turn purple–I cannot even imagine).  She cried a little, they laid her right on my tummy and Cheryl & Melanie (her assistant) showed up at 5:07 pm.  I was very nervous when she wasn’t crying the whole time, I guess because I finally had realized what danger she could have been in but she was perfect!

We had a planned home birth.  We did not plan to have BJ deliver our little girl!  However, because we had planned a home birth, we had her birth kit there, so after about ten minutes, Cheryl walked BJ through using the cord clamps and cutting the cord (picture Mom boiling the scissors on the stove!  The whole thing is so crazy that it really happened this way!).

There are two major things I have taken away from this whole experience.  The first is that my husband is the even more amazing and wonderful in my eyes than I already thought he was.  He never once panicked, he never once let on if he was scared.  He stepped in and did what had to be done and not only that–when there was a complication–he stepped up even higher.  I never felt any fear in him delivering Willow.  I am blown away by him.

The second thing is how at every turn of this pregnancy and birth, God guided us with His loving hand.  I believe we were supposed to have a homebirth–had we planned to go to the hospital, we would’ve gone wayyyyyyyy too late because I wasn’t convinced I was really in labor.  We would’ve been in the car and I don’t think BJ could’ve delivered her with her shoulders stuck.  Also, the coolest thing to me, is how God spoke so clearly for me to get out of the water.  Her body didn’t come out the next contraction after the head and had I still be in the water…well, I don’t really want to think about it except to just praise God for His goodness.

So there’s Willow’s story!  It’s a crazy wild one for sure.  We pray her life will be one that lives up to her entry–one that trusts God, does amazing things that go against the grain, and lives a life completely abandoned to Him, no matter what!  We are a very, very blessed family.

As for her name, taken from Is. 44:3- 4

(1) Because man of himself is as the dry and barren land, he promises to moisten him with the waters of his Holy Spirit

(2)) That is, your children and posterity will increase wonderfully after their deliverance from Babylon.

Her middle name, Jeanetta, is in honor of her Aunt Aimee and her Grandma GG.  Rose is in honor of her cousin, Micaiah Rose.

The kids are absolutely in love with her.  Even Judah, who had a little cry after realizing she wasn’t a boy, has embraced her.  They are such sweet, sweet kiddos.  I love them all so much my heart could burst!!  Very special to have my Mom be there and play such an active role.  And so cool that Dad could come right on up this birth instead of like last time when Olive was born.  God has been very good to us.

Shi’s Fairy Party

Shiloh turned 4!  I can’t believe she is four years old but that’s a whole other blog post.  She wanted to have a fairy party so since she has never had a “big” party we decided to go for it.  Zoe & Judah won’t be having parties this year because it is HER year.  For me to do a party the way I like, I just can’t have everyone having parties in the same year.  Especially if this baby is born in October; then we’ll have  August (Zoe), September (Shi), October (new baby) and November (Judah) birthdays!  Poor Ollie, she’s the lone girl in March because I’m in October and BJ’s in November.

Onto the party details…a few people have asked me if I came up with the ideas on my own–well of course, I mean isn’t that what being creative is??  NOT!  I am an official idea THIEF!  Seriously, I know there are great artists out there but I’m pretty sure the only original creator is God himself.  We all get to pick & choose and make things our own, you know?  Personal opinion :)  Anyway, so below I’ve labeled the pictures and am giving links to where I found the ideas.

Before I go over all of the ideas, I just want to say that if you want to throw an amazing party for your child without spending much $$, it IS possible.  God gave me so many great ideas and opportunities to use what we already have and you could never tell it, you know?  For example, the backdrop and table cloth are actually the girls sheets!  Things like that amaze me about God.  He loves Shi more than we do and He wanted her to have an incredible and special party–and she did!  I just got to put it together.

1)  Pink Lemonade Cupcakes sat inside homemade cupcake holders.  The cupcake holders are soooo easy to make and inexpensive.  I found patterns here and here and ended up using the one from Skip to My Lou.   I used scrapbook paper I had already.  As for the pink lemonade cupcakes, it could be that I burnt them a little, but I don’t think many people loved them.  They looked pretty though :)

The flag banner is also made from scrapbook paper, sewn on vintage ric rac I had and tied onto bamboo skewers.  There are a lot of places you can find these but this is the one I kept coming back to.  FYI, I didn’t use the tutorial she has; it looked way too complicated for what I was looking for.

2) & 3) Cupcake “decorating station”.  I found the buckets in the $1 bin at Target.  Each girl got a bracelet, ring, wand (picture #8) and a cupcake to decorate.   My awesome husband put sugar and food coloring in the food processor and SURPRISE!  Cheap, homemade colored sugar, other wise known as “pixie dust”.  I found that idea here.

4) Beautiful fairies in a row!  I asked each girl to dress up and bring fairy wings if they had them; if not, we provided them.  I think they look sooo adorable.

5) Marshmallow wands and pretzel wands.  The pink “rose” looking wands were born out of leftover marshmallows & frosting and a lack of desire to sprinkle anymore!  The sprinkled marshmallow wands were supposed to be dipped in chocolate, the pretzel wands as well, but I resorted to frosting due to not having a double boiler and messing up the chocolate.  The sprinkles stuck better to the chocolate, though, so that would’ve been better.

6) Fairy bread–a total waste of bread, butter and sprinkles in my opinion.  I foolishly thought kids would love these but I don’t know if even one kid ate the bread!  Maybe if it were for breakfast but with all the other options, nope, not happening.  You can google “fairy bread” to find a bunch of sites.

7) Face painting:  I found the picture on a carnival party here. I asked my friend Carmen, who owns a mural business, if she would paint their faces and she did such an awesome job!

8 ) The magic wands–honestly, I think they turned out the very best of everything we did.  We used the tutorial I found here but we modified it a little.  We cut the stars out of foam board and the kids painted & glittered them.  BJ painted dowel rods with paint we had from the girls’ room and he cut them to about 16″.  Then he sharpened the end of each one in the pencil sharpener and pushed it into the star.  We were going to hot glue but this worked sooo much better.  I think only one star came off during the party which is way less than I had expected.  Finally, I tied ribbons on the tops of them.  I think they were so cute!  Of course, you can’t go wrong with displaying anything in a blue mason jar :)

9) Pin the wand on the fairy–I googled “fairy party ideas” and found it somewhere.

All the sweet girls showing their wings :)

Here are the websites I used to to just gather the whole “look & feel” of the party

Mostly, I am obsessed with google and researching!  Try it sometime :)  Happy party planning!!!

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