Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saturday fun

After the boys went to sleep, Joe and I went out to poke around in the garden. It was my first trip since Charlie was born. Everything had really grown, including the weeds. We had a bountiful harvest and our first cantaloupes of the season. I need to learn how to make something with tomatoes--spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, or just canned tomatoes because we are going to have so many tomatoes! Any suggestions?

This morning, we also got to see the inside of one of the houses that we are considering. It is less than 2 minutes from church, but they are asking way more than it is worth.My littlest man after his bath tonight.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Fried Green Tomatoes

We must be turning into Mississippians. Last night's supper was catfish, pasta salad, and fried green tomatoes. Our garden is in a lull right now and so when we looked for something to have as a side last night Joe said, "Well, we have a lot of green tomatoes." The fried green tomatoes actually turned out pretty well for my first try. The recipe was from The Joy of Cooking and called for some fresh parsley and thyme in the flour dredge. I thought they were delicious, but Joe and the boys weren't as enthusiastic.

The coloring in the picture didn't turn out very well, but you can get the general idea.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"You had the baby!"

I had my first trip to Wal-mart today, but with only Charlie and David instead of all 4 boys. Joseph and Will played at Mrs. J.'s house and had a grand time while I shopped. I got to show Charlie off to all of the workers who we have gotten to know from our weekly shopping trips. Being hugely pregnant and shopping faithfully every Wednesday morning with 3 young children in tow makes me an easy person to remember, I suppose. :) I had trouble finding room in my cart for the groceries with David up front in the child seat and Charlie in the back in his carrier. I overdid it too and was exhausted afterwards. It was lifting the 50 lb. bag of dog food that finally was just too much.

Joe and I have been talking some recently about downsizing and we actually went and looked at some houses yesterday. We have been thinking about buying a smaller (cheaper) house and paying for it completely rather than keeping this big house with a mortgage. It is definitely appealing to think of being 100% debt free ("Freedom!!!!"), but we really love our land. I am not attached to this house, but I love the yard. Joe did mention today how much more free time we would have if we didn't have to keep up with the yard though....

Anyway, it is an interesting discussion and it gets to the core of what we are going to value as a family. Land or being debt free? Being able to save now to free us up for future ministry or paying on a mortgage? Living in 1600 or 3200 sq ft? Having the huge yard and driveway for the boys or the usual backyard play area? We'll see where God leads.

Lastly, here is a picture of Charlie from today. He's just under 10 lbs now and doing great!

Confidential to the aunts: The "teenager" is back and banging against my living room window again!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Home alone

....well, not really. David and Charlie are here with me. Joe, Will, and Joseph have gone to church for prayer meeting and an ice cream social afterwards. Charlie had slept for most of the late afternoon and has been crying for the last 45 minutes. He is finally settled (for the moment, at least) and in my lap contented.

I am home alone in that my last visitor/helper left today. Meg, my little sister, left this morning after lunch. She was invaluable the past few days in caring for the older boys leaving me free to tend to Charlie and the house (and she vacuumed for me--always a way to make me happy). The boys loved the extra attention and having a new person to play with. I am so grateful that she was willing to give herself and her time to serve us (thanks, Meg!).

I must admit, however, that it is good to be just "us" again. The boys need more consistency, and we need to figure out our new normal as a family of 6. As I pulled a load of laundry from the dryer, I realized that I even enjoy the simple responsibility of providing clean clothes for my family. For a "doer," 2 weeks of inactivity is hard! I am glad to be up and about again.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Meg has been here since Sunday helping out and she is getting the full experience. I just sent her to Wal-mart with Joseph and Will...and a grocery list...and it started pouring just after they left. :) Do you think she'll survive? And even more importantly, will she still be smiling when she gets home? Seriously though, she has been a huge help. She has taken care of the boys full-time allowing me a bit more time to rest before I am on my own.

Melinda is coming this afternoon for a 2 week follow-up visit. It will be fun to see how Charlie has grown.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The birth of Charles Edward

All of my previous labors have been 12+ hours long and so when people asked, "What if the midwife doesn't get there in time?" I would laugh and say, "Well, that would mean I was in labor for less than 2 hours and that sounds great to me!" And then I'd reassure them that I have lengthy labors and don't have to even worry about it. My cousin just had her second baby, and I had commented that I envied her short, albeit a bit harried labor. This experience with long labors was even what led to my idea to live blog the labor--I mean, when it lasts for so long, there are lulls and I was going to need something to do, right?

Well, Charlie (and the Lord) had different plans for this birth. Monday must have been my energy surge day, though I didn't realize it at the time. Sunday night, I had been awakened at night by relatively painless, but definitely intense contractions that came every 15 minutes or so all night long. I was sure that I'd be in labor by morning, but the contractions petered out as I got going for the day. I brought the boys to Bible School and then visited with friends and played with David at church for a while. I ran to the grocery story and got some meat for supper, ran home to put the groceries away, and got the boys from Bible School. The afternoon was normal--naps, playing outside, supper, bedtime.

Monday night the contractions started again and went from 12:00 to 5:00 again about every 15 minutes, but this time they hurt! I would wake up at the peak of the contraction from a deep sleep. Surely this was the start of labor. But again, they stopped the next morning. On Tuesday I was in a bad mood. I hadn't slept well (I was having contractions all night) and I just didn't feel good. I dropped the boys at Bible School again and came home because I was grumpy and wanted to rest. When Joe got home that afternoon from work, I insisted that we finish up preparations for the birth. I even wanted to put the boys' overnight bags by the front door and get out the pack-n-play. He thought I was a bit over zealous, but joined in the preparations. (Remember, at this point, I had been telling him for 2 days that I felt like I was going into labor and I hadn't.)

Sometime around 4:00 I had a contraction that was different. It is just like everyone says, when you are in labor, suddenly you just know. And I knew. I told Joe and after 2 more contractions, called Melinda, my midwife. I told her that I was in labor and she should head this way. I told her I was having contractions every 8-12 minutes, but that these were real. Thankfully, she didn't ask how long I had been having contractions because I would've had to tell her that I had only had 3. Later she told me that she knew by my voice that this was it. She said that she was already in her car and would just continue on to my house. 2 hours and she would be here.

At this point, I went outside and told Joe that I wanted him to believe me that I was really in labor. He still wasn't convinced. :) I managed to make calls to friends to come and get the boys between contractions. I called Mama and told her I was in labor. After that, I just had to focus on staying on top of the contractions. When my friend Angie came to pick up David and Joseph, she came and prayed with me and I knew that things were moving very quickly. I had sat down on my bed to pray with Angie came and now realized that if I moved at all another contraction came right away and the intensity was just too much. So, I stayed in the exact same position sitting on the side of my bed.

After the boys left, Joe gathered a few things that we still needed to have and brought them back to our room. I was so glad that he was there and that the boys were gone because I needed to concentrate. A little while after that, I got nauseous and threw up the yogurt and juice that I had eaten to give me a little strength. Joe told me later that it wasn't until I threw up that he actually believed that I was in labor! Around 5:45, the contractions were coming every 4 minutes and were very strong. Joe called to check on Melinda and she said she was a half an hour away. I remember thinking that I wasn't sure I would make it until then, but really didn't want to deliver until she came because it would worry Joe so much. So, I didn't move and anxiously watched the clock.

Melinda arrive promptly at 6:15 and pronounced me at an 8. She set up her things and was so quiet and unobtrusive as she got everything ready. She listened to the baby's heart tones on her handheld Doppler (like the ones you all have seen the OB use during office visits) and he sounded great. There were two times during the next hour that she listened to the baby the whole time during and after a contraction to be sure that he was handling them well. It was painful, but I knew that she needed to do it.

At this point, I was resting on pillows on the bed and Joe would apply counter pressure to my lower back during contractions. Poor guy, his arm fell asleep, but I needed him right there during every contraction and he was. I threw up again and contractions spaced out a bit as I went through transition. My water broke at the peak of a contraction and soon I started pushing. I only pushed for 10 minutes and he was born at 7:50. He was born with the cord loosely around his neck and also wrapped around his body. He also had his hand by the side of his head (a favorite position even now) as he was born. As soon as he was placed on my stomach, Joe peaked and announced that he was "a boy!" I held him briefly and then the post-delivery shakes that I get after each birth started and so Joe held Charlie. I was so cold and eventually warmed up after they covered me with some dryer-warmed blankets.

Melinda examined Charlie and weighed and measured him. I rested for a while and Melinda cleaned up, packed her supplies, and started some laundry while Joe held Charlie. After 3 failed attempts (I was too dizzy at first) I finally made it to the bathroom for a very comfy bath. After I was back in bed, Melinda checked to be sure that we were comfortable and felt ready to have her leave and gave a few more instructions. Then she left and we were alone.

I told Melinda before she left that it was the birth that I had always wanted to have. It truly was. I was so glad to be at home and in control. It was a very relaxed and comfortable labor (if labor can be relaxing) and there was just a peacefulness about the whole thing. It was....simple.

I am so thankful for God's protection of me and little Charlie and so grateful that he is here!!!

Saturday, June 16, 2007


"Mama, if Charlie is out of your tummy, why is it still so big?"

....Nothing like a 4 year old to keep you humble.

"And now that Charlie is here you can RUN with us again!"

....and thankful for the enthusiasm of little boys.

Friday, June 15, 2007

First news

I want to start on this post, although things might get too busy for me to finish it right now. Joe is currently upstairs getting the older boys ready for bed and Charlie is sleeping in his infant carrier in the kitchen while my mom is doing dishes. Mama leaves tomorrow and we are sorely going to miss her! She told me before she came that she never feels like she does anything when she comes after a new baby is born....I don't think that will be her impression after this trip. As I mentioned earlier, I have had a slower recovery with this birth and so Mama has done everything--watching the children, keeping up the house (and cleaning it from top to bottom to make up for my negligence the last weeks of pregnancy), doing all of the cooking, AND waiting on me hand and foot. I have been able to completely rest this week save for the care of Charlie, and I've even had help with him. I have my third follow-up visit with my midwife next Tuesday and hopefully after that I'll be cleared to do normal stuff.

Charlie is a sweet baby. He has done well most nights and has already gone down from 3 to 2 night time feedings. If I can get one little nap during the day I am able to do the night time feedings without bothering Joe. (One night after I hadn't had a nap in 2 days, I slept through some of Charlie's fussing and had a rough time being awake to feed

The boys LOVE Charlie and this has been so nice. Even David, who tends to be the most temperamental and possessive, oohs and ahhs over him and chatters and laughs at him. Joseph and Will both love holding Charlie and can barely resist patting him each time they see him (even when he is napping or nursing--we're working on that). My mom has been so great about entertaining the boys and helping them hold and see Charlie.

Joe has been working tirelessly, as he always does. Daddy duties and pastoral duties plus lots of my usual duties. I am looking forward to being better so that I can take some of the load from him. I am so grateful to have such a hard working and thoughtful husband.

Here is a picture of me and my little man from a few days ago. Pay no attention to my pale skin and sleepy eyes. They just come with the territory. :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Quick update

I have been dreadfully negligent in blogging and just wanted to post a little hello. My recovery is going well, but is a lot slower with this little one. I can't wait to get back online and tell about the very fast labor and the first days with Charlie. But for now, know that all is well and I'll be back soon.
Joe is posting new photos on our flickr, so you can see our little man there.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Pics of Charlie on flickr

You can find subsequent new pictures of Charlie at our family flickr album.


Charlie at 12 hours old

I know, I know, everyone wants to see pictures. They will be forthcoming in abundance. Here is the first one of Charlie this morning, some 12 hours after birth.

Both Hallie and Charlie are currently taking a well deserved nap.



Hallie had the best of intentions of live-blogging our birth. But those intentions were counting on a long labor. The Lord had different plans.

Charles Edward Holland was born last night at 7:50 pm. He is beautiful. He is 7 lbs 3 ozs, 19 inches. He and Hallie are doing fantastic.

I'm sure Hallie will update you more when she feels up to it.


Monday, June 04, 2007

Ice cream social, Holland style

We had chocolate ice cream on cake cones for dessert tonight, which was the incentive to get the boys to eat a less than favorite dinner. We had marinated grilled top round steak, grilled squash with herbs, and some leftover Mexican salad from today's Bible school lunch. They are not huge fans of squash and certainly weren't fond of the herbs--garlic, oregano, and a bit of mint--so good! And they never are good salad eaters. However, whenever they know a good dessert is coming, it is amazing what they will eat. They enjoyed their cones immensely, as you can see, and were then shepherded off to baths. I should have taken an after picture too.

Bible School!

It is Bible School week at our little church and we have spent a fun morning getting caught up in all of the festivities. William got to join Joseph's class (even though he's too young they said he could come, which was so nice) and both boys were exhausted when I got them home. David and I hung out in the nursery visiting with friends most of the morning and then ran to the grocery store before going back to church for lunch.

Right now, everyone is sleeping and I'm eating chocolate ice cream and enjoying the quiet. I need to do a bit of cleaning before the boys wake up, so I'd better go. I'm going to try to get Joe to get a 39 weeks picture for me later tonight.

BTW, does it count as nesting if the reason that I am cleaning is because I know that "nesting" indicates impending labor and I want to be in labor?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sunday afternoon

As much as I am eager to have this baby, Joe says (and wisely so) that it would be much better to wait until next weekend when my mom is here. The baby seems to be on his side sadly. I had a fine, but short nap and we are all up and about. Time to get the boys outside to run off some pent up energy.

Checking in

I suppose one can't live blog a birth without at least a few false alarms and so risking that I will mention that I might be in early labor. Time will tell over the next day or so. At any rate, I'm going to take a nap and Joe is going to enjoy a peaceful household with everyone sleeping.