First Week Solo



I have officially survived my first week alone with all five kids!

I'm not going to lie, we had a couple rough moments, but overall I think we are developing a little bit of routine to these newborn days.  Georgie has been sleeping in later than the other kids, which has worked out pretty well because then I can get everyone else up and eating breakfast, and then pump a bit before she wakes up to eat.

The kids are still pretty enamored with Georgiana, and they take any opportunity to help me with her.  Clarice especially - she scrambles around grabbing whatever she thinks I might need for Georgie, and it's adorable to see her little toddling run.

As I type this, Georgie is sitting in her swing with her polar bear wubbanub in her mouth, taking in the whole room, and Clarice is settled on my lap (yes, I'm typing while cuddling my two year old - talented, right?), and the bigger kids are playing in their rooms.  

Anyway, just to give this post some direction, let's talk about things that are making my world spin just a little smoother this week.

Maternity Pants

I think this is the first pregnancy where I did not immediately abandon maternity pants after birth.  I'm chalking it up to H&M's excellent maternity pant selection.  What can I say?  They still fit, and they don't really look like maternity pants, and the waistband helps suck my tummy in a little.

JJ Heller

Something about her music makes me just appreciate my life, even the chaotic moments.  

Coffee

No explanation needed.

My Kindle

There really isn't a better way to read books while nursing than on a Kindle.  I've finished two books this week - Strange Fire by John MacArthur (which I've been working on for a while - it was good), and The List by Siobhan Vivian (probably wouldn't recommend it - I felt like there were almost-opportunities for some solid points about beauty, but the author didn't quite make them work, and too much teenage misbehavior tarnishing it up).  Now I'm working on The Wednesday Wars, which is completely delightful so far.  It reminds me of the early seasons of The Wonder Years, and I loved that show.

Tylenol

Not for the reasons you might think, because birth-wise, this has probably been my easiest recovery yet.  No, the Tylenol is a lifesaver because sometime early this week I slept on my neck wrong, and I've been having awful neck and shoulder pain ever since.  And wouldn't you know, my chiropractor is closed this week?  So Tylenol is my friend.  Ibuprofen would be my friend (because it's better than Tylenol), but it thins your blood, and I'm already on Lovenox because of that one time when I had a deep vein thrombosis.  Doubling up on blood thinners is generally a no-no.

Meals From Friends

I am just floored by the amount of meals we received this week from my mom's group friends!  I haven't had to cook anything in nearly two weeks.  It's been glorious.

Newborn Snuggles and Paw Patrol

These usually happen simultaneously - Paw Patrol keeps my big kids occupied, and I get some quiet newborn snuggles in.  There have been some moments this week when we're all crying, but these quiet sweet moments, with soft newborn hair tickling my cheek and all five of my precious kids gathered around me - it just makes me happy to be alive.

Next up - date night!  Despite my not making it to 40 weeks for my late-pregnancy reward plan, my mom is watching the kids anyway so we can still see Murder On The Orient Express tonight!  I'll let you know if they ruin it or not (crossing my fingers...)


Georgiana's Birth Story



I don't think you can fully appreciate this birth story unless I back up a little bit and impress upon you just exactly how incredibly uncomfortable I was on October 29th.

I wrote my 38 week pregnancy update before the 29th, and I already described there how many different things were giving me pain between 37 and 38 weeks, including a round of false labor.  But when I woke up on the 29th, my discomfort had reached another level.  

I shifted to get out of bed and took a few steps to the bathroom, in pain the entire time.  I had been feeling uncomfortable first thing in the morning all week, but today the feeling just didn’t go away.  The pain was mostly in my lower back and hips, and my leg/hip joint, and the baby just felt so heavy.  It hurt to walk around the house, it hurt to climb the stairs, it even hurt to lift one leg so I could cross it over the other.  I had to use my hands to physically lift my limbs so I could cross my legs!  I couldn’t recline too far back because I could feel the baby’s head pressing against my tailbone when I reclined, but I couldn’t sit forward very comfortably with my legs together.  I was left with a less-than-ladylike exercise-ball-squat sitting position, which gets uncomfortable in itself after a while.

We decided to go to church anyway, mainly because I didn’t want to sit around the house feeling uncomfortable with nothing to do all day.  Everyone in our Sunday School class asked how I was feeling, and all I could say was that I felt so sore today.  A couple of them suggested that maybe the baby would come early, but I waved it off.  “Oh, I think we’ll end up having a 40 week baby, so I’m just trying to prepare myself!” I said.  And I really believed it.

We had a birthday party scheduled for the afternoon, but Derek encouraged me to tell our friends we couldn’t make it, and after suffering through church and the car ride home, I agreed with him.  I laid down and took a nap for an hour, which was the only relief I had all day.  Derek was so sweet and took care of the kids so I could rest and take it easy all afternoon.  I told him I really didn’t know what I was going to do the next day if I felt this uncomfortable again, because I wouldn’t even be able to take care of the kids with the way I was feeling.  He emailed his work to see if he could work from home so he could help me.

Derek tried out a new curry recipe for dinner while I rested on the couch, and that was when I started to notice some Braxton-Hicks like contractions.  The didn’t feel like real contractions, but they were more noticeable than regular Braxton-Hicks.  I figured it was more false labor, but I timed them anyway.  They came anywhere from 10-30 minutes, not consistently at all.

The kids all (surprisingly) loved the curry dinner, and we all sat at the table together to eat and do Bible time.  Derek often takes over the bedtime routine for me in the evenings during the week so I can have a break, but a little part of me was starting to wonder if I might be having the baby sooner than expected, so I wanted to be part of the whole bedtime ritual than night, just in case.  We brushed teeth, read a story, sang a song, said bedtime prayers.  I kissed all my babies goodnight, and Derek and I sat down to watch an old episode of Monk.  Actually, to be accurate, Derek sat, I laid down on my side, since that was the only comfortable position.

The contractions were still sporadic and not terribly contraction-like through the show, but I was starting to get a general feeling of unease.  I got up at one point to use the restroom, and when I laid back down on the couch, I started shivering.

I asked Derek to cover me with a blanket.  But the shivering didn’t stop.  

I told him I didn’t feel right, and I thought maybe we should call my mom and ask her to spend the night, just in case.

By the time Derek got off the phone with my mom, I was shaking uncontrollably, and it was honestly starting to freak me out a little bit.  The only other time I had experienced shaking like that during pregnancy was when I was in labor, in transition.  I couldn’t be in transition since I wasn’t even having consistent contractions, right?  It was weird enough though that I decided to call my doctor.

I told her about the contractions and the shaking that had just started.  

“Well, hmm,” she said.  “Usually women who are in labor can’t sleep through it - do you think you could sleep through the contractions?”  

“Well, I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep if this shaking doesn’t stop,” I said.  

“Why don’t you just come down to the hospital to be checked out?  You’re scaring me a little bit,” she said.  (My doctors are all very aware that I often progress quickly in labor.)

By the time I got off the phone the shaking was even more pronounced, and I was honestly starting to feel a little panicky.  This was so unlike my usual labor pattern, I really wasn’t sure what was going on.  Was I going into labor or was this just some weird pregnancy symptom?  I didn’t feel right.

I called my mom to tell her to hurry, but she didn’t pick up.  Derek started throwing a few last-minute things into our hospital bag, just in case this was really labor and we ended up staying.  I gingerly walked around the house, grabbing a couple things and getting my boots and jacket on.  Then suddenly the shaking stopped.

Derek finished packing the car and came to sit next to me, and I just burst into tears.  “I feel stupid!” I wailed (yes, wailed).  “The shaking has stopped, and we’re going to go down there, and it’s all going to be nothing!  And then we’ll have to come home and I’m still going to be this uncomfortable!”  I had tears streaming down my face while Derek rubbed my back.

My mom called, and I gave her the same teary update.  “No, you still need to go down there and figure out what this shaking thing is.  That’s not normal,” she told me.

She arrived a couple minutes later, and my mom prayed with Derek and me before we headed off to the hospital, around 9:00 PM.

Once we were in the car I was feeling less panicky, and I was talking to Derek, trying to convince myself it wasn’t a total waste of time to go to the hospital.  Derek assured me that it wasn’t a waste of time, and I needed to at least get checked. 

Within a few minutes of getting into the car I had a contraction again, and this one felt more like I remembered early labor contractions feeling (even though it was short at only 30 seconds).  I started timing again, and had contractions every 5-6 minutes all the way to the hospital.  I was relieved, because these felt like the real thing, and I finally felt like I was recognizably in early labor.  Derek told me that he had told Wyatt that we were going to the hospital to get checked out, and Wyatt had bounced around, excited that we might be having the baby.

We pulled into the hospital parking lot and waited a few minutes until my next contraction had ended before we headed in.  The nurses came down to get us, and joked that they were worried I had a baby on the side of the road again.  

My contractions stalled when we arrived at the hospital, but I was expecting this.  Typically when I’m in early labor and get up to walk around, my contractions stop (it happened the last time I gave birth too).  My nurse introduced herself and asked me to leave a sample.  I noticed a tiny streak of blood in the bathroom, which was reassuring to me that something was happening down there.  She hooked me up to the monitors and asked if I had been having any more contractions (I hadn’t, but I knew they’d start up again soon).  She checked my cervix, and I was only at a 1 cm (same as at my doctor appointment the week before).




After laying in bed for a few minutes my contractions started again and were recognizable on the monitors.  At 10:45 PM, the nurse said they would monitor me for an hour and see if I made any progress.  When she left the room, Derek and I worried about what we would do if they decided not to admit me to the hospital.  At this point we knew I was in early labor, and we certainly didn’t want to go home.  I also didn’t want to have to labor in the car and try to get admitted again.  I focused on breathing slowly and relaxing as much as possible through the contractions so they could do their job.

The nurse came to check on my around 11:45 PM and asked how I was doing.  I said that the contractions were definitely more painful now.  She said she thought they should wait and give me one more hour before they checked me, just to really make sure I had enough time to make some progress.  I was so grateful for that nurse!

Over the next 15 minutes my contractions really started to pick up in intensity.  They started hurting so much worse, with the pain concentrated heavily in my back.  It made sense to me that I would have back labor, because I had suspected that the baby was facing the wrong direction with all the pain I’d been having that day.

In my past labors, I usually have a contraction and then feel very normal until the next contraction comes.  This labor was entirely different from my usual labor experience, because the pain did not go away between contractions.  I’d have a painful contraction in my back, and then the achy, sore feeling would linger in my back and hips until the next contraction.  They say if you have back labor it helps to get on your hands and knees (and I know this is true, because it really helped when I had back labor with my third).  However, remember how much pain I was in earlier in the day when trying to walk?  I did not want to move - it hurt too much to even shift a little in the bed.

At this point, I told Derek two things:

1) I didn’t care if I hadn’t progressed at all at my next check, I was not leaving that hospital.  I was going to insist they admit me.

2)  If I had progressed a decent amount at my next check, I was requesting the epidural.  I have gone through natural labor three times, and I just decided that this time, I didn’t want to.  I knew I could do it, I didn’t have anything left to prove to myself, and I just had no desire to do the back labor thing again.  I wanted my last birth experience to not be a traumatic one, and with the way things were starting to go, I knew that a natural birth would be a little traumatizing should I go that route with this baby.  Derek was sweet and supportive, as he always is.  I am so grateful for him!  I really couldn’t ask for a better birth advocate/coach.

The nurse came to check me at 12:45 AM, and I had progressed to 4 cm!  Yes!  I could tell things could potentially move fast at this point (my labors always move quickly toward the end), and I also knew it could take an hour to get the epidural.  I asked the nurses to call the anesthesiologist right away, and they put the order in.  I also got a dose of antibiotics since I had tested Group B positive.

At this point I had Derek come and start holding my hand or tickling my arm through the contractions, because they were getting more painful as we waited.  The anesthesiologist came at 1:30 AM, and I was so grateful because the intensity of the contractions kept steadily increasing.  I gingerly shifted myself around to sit on the edge of the bed, and I had to breath through a couple contractions before they could place the epidural.  The anesthesiologist told me I was “an excellent breather”, and that it was good because if I could stay relaxed the contractions would hurt less.  I’ve got the breathing thing down after five births!

He had the epidural placed by 1:45 PM, and the contractions gradually got less painful.  My right side never got completely numb (it weirdly didn’t the last time I got an epidural either), but before long I felt so much more comfortable.  

The nurse checked me again shortly after the epidural and I was at 8 cm.  I started feeling pressure almost right away, and she called the doctor.

I remember sitting there at this time, and I felt (and saw) her kick against my belly.  I grinned, and then looked at Derek.  “Ah.  That’s probably the last time I’ll feel her kick from the inside.”  I started tearing up, and Derek came over to hold my hand.

I still had tears streaming down my face as the nurse talked to me and the doctor came in a minute later.

It was 2:00 AM at this point, and I was still at 8 cm.  The doc pulled out this scary-looking stick to break my water.  She left for a minute, but with the next contraction the pressure was even more intense, and she came back in right away.  Derek rubbed my back, and I asked if I could start pushing.  They set me back with my legs in the stirrups (such a dumb pushing position, but my legs were numb, so what can you do?), and with the next contraction, I screeched/pushed.  They say you should only feel pressure, but my epidural had only really been in place for 20 minutes, so it still hurt.

I pushed again through the next contraction, and by the next contraction her head was out.  The nurses and Derek were telling me to look down so I could maybe see her head. I glanced down, but I couldn’t see her, and I didn’t try too hard because I was still trying to push the rest of her out.  At one point I remember saying I couldn’t get her out, but in the next two pushes there she was!





At 2:21 AM I looked down, and there was my sweet baby girl, her face all scrunched up.  They handed her to me, and I just started crying because I was so happy that she was here!

She just laid on my chest with her eyes wide open and her cheeks puffed out as she gave a pouty lip.  The nurses suctioned out her mouth, and she finally let out a tiny little mewing cry!

They let me hold her for a little bit, and then took her over to the warmer to clean her up while the placenta was delivered.  They must have made her mad because she was crying pretty loudly by the time they brought her back, but it made me feel pretty special when they handed her back to me and the crying immediately stopped.  She looked up at me and I just fell in love with her again for the second time in as many minutes.






They told us she was 8 pounds, 8 ounces, and 21 inches long.  No wonder I was in so much pain!  She was about a pound heavier than my heaviest baby!  One pound apparently makes a big difference in my level of pregnancy comfort.

They asked her name, and Derek and I announced it as Georgiana Bea.  We picked Georgiana because we just thought it was a beautiful name.  We picked Bea because it means “she who brings happiness”.  I knew I wanted that in her name, because she has brought us so much happiness ever since we found out she was on the way.  Miss Georgie Bea continues to live up to her name.





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The next couple days were a bit of a blur, with a flurry of visitors, and pictures, and one annoying nurse.  But my favorite part was having the kids meet their baby sister.  Wyatt kept saying “I just really love her!”  Gwen, who has been dying to hold her for weeks, had the best grin on her face, so proud to be a big sister again!  Clyde announced that he was going to call her Georgie, and the way he says it is so darn cute.  And after some snuggles with me, Clarice plopped down on the couch and smiled so sweetly as I let her “hold” the baby!








We are all home now, and the kids are still doing great with her!  I especially think Clarice is being sweet about trying to help. When we first picked up the kids from my parents house, Clarice worked so hard to bring the car seat over to me so I could get Georgie ready to go.  Every time I come upstairs with the baby, Clarice yanks her “baby” (her favorite bear is “Baby”) out of the swing and frantically points to the swing.  “Baby Georgie here!” she says.  The other kids all are anxious to help, and the latest request is that I let them give her a bottle, so we may try to make that happen this week.  


I am loving being a mom to five kids! I am so blessed to call each of these sweet children mine, and so grateful to have Georgie here!


Wish me luck, because Derek is officially back to work now, and today is the first day on my own! 

Guess Who Surprised Me Again?



You know how I was just saying that this baby is throwing me for a loop?  Well, she did it again, because she's HERE!



We welcomed Georgiana Bea on October 30th at 2:21 AM!

She's 8 pounds 8 ounces, and 21 inches long!



We are so surprised and thrilled that she's here!  More details coming soon!

Uncomfortable - 38 Weeks (Baby #5)



Well, this baby is throwing me for a loop!

Remember how I said in my last update that I was mostly comfortable?  That changed pretty quickly over the last couple weeks.  Permit me a brief list of my aches and pains:

-My hips have been killing me.  There is so much pressure down there when I am on my feet for too long, plus I've had days where I feel like my hip is actually going to pop out of joint.  Ouch!

-The round ligament pain has picked up quite a bit, and a couple times I thought I tore something, it hurt so badly.

-I actually pulled a muscle in my stomach.  I now cannot bend down to pick something up off the floor without a muscle pain on the upper left part of my belly.   I was actually kind of worried that I gave myself a hernia there somehow, but I'm thinking it's probably just a pulled abdominal muscle.  I'm going to ask my doctor this week.

-The Braxton Hicks contractions are getting more uncomfortable the bigger I get.

-I can't recline anymore because it's too uncomfortable.  When I lean back on the couch or in bed in a reclining position, it feels like her head is pushing against my tailbone.  This makes me think she is facing the wrong direction (toward my front instead of facing my back), and I hope she turns around the right way before labor starts!  I've had back labor before, and it's not fun.

-I actually had a day, right after I posted my last update, where I had some false labor - I was cramping at intervals for a couple hours.  I could tell they weren't actual contractions and my body was just practicing, but they still were so uncomfortable.

(Please don't laugh at how many times I wrote "uncomfortable" just now.)



Despite all those aches and pains in my belly and pelvis, Baby Girl is actually not yet engaged.  There have been times when there was so much pressure on my cervix area that I was sure I must have some dilating happening, but at my appointment last week I was barely dilated to 1 cm, and not effaced at all.  I am anticipating at this point that we will definitely make it to 40 weeks, but I also said two weeks ago that I was feeling really comfortable, and now look at me.  We'll see what happens!

Are We Ready?

I have a few little last minute things that I'd like to get accomplished before she arrives...but I've been mostly putting them off.  All the big things are done, and we are mostly ready to go, so my motivation to complete the final details is a little lacking at the moment.  My focus has been mainly on making sure the house is as spotless as possible, especially before we leave the house for the day, just in case she decides to come when I'm not expecting.  



Derek has really been my hero on this front lately too.  He has put up with all my silly requests for help because he knows how uncomfortable I am, but he has also gone above and beyond the call of duty.  Last week he scrubbed the bathroom and kitchen floors with a toothbrush - a toothbrush! - and I didn't even ask him to do it!  I had resigned myself to the fact that the floors were not going to be spotless because I was definitely not going to crawl around on all fours in my current state, but he surprised me by doing it himself, and I have to say, it's so much nicer to walk around barefoot now!  I have a sweet husband.

The kids still ask me occasionally when the baby will come.  The other day Clyde asked "Is the baby coming today?" in his cute little toddler voice.  When I said no, he said "Oh, she's coming tomorrow?"  They are excited, but I think they are also starting to think she's taking forever and I hear the hint of exasperation when they ask "How many more days now?"  Especially when I have to say I don't know!



About Baby

She still moves quite a lot, and I love feeling her tiny legs and feet through my belly!  She seems to be liking to interact with my hand a little bit more, instead of just trying to kick my fingers away. But I can also tell she has slowed down a bit over the last couple weeks - I'm hoping this means she is developing some good sleeping patterns.  The one good thing about going to 40 weeks, if we do, is that I do believe that later babies are better sleepers - at least it's been true in our experience so far.   

At this point I am starting to really look forward to having her here, and seeing what she looks like.  I'm also so curious to see her personality!  I have a feeling all my girls are going to be on the spunky side.  I can't wait to see her little face.

I'm keeping myself busy with a few hobby projects, which I'll probably write about soon, and also trying to sneak in as many days of homeschooling as I can before she arrives so we can take a nice long break.  As slowly as the days seem to drag by sometimes, it's still crazy to think that in a matter of days, most likely down into the teens and soon single digits, we'll have a baby!




The Balance Between Memory-Keeping And Memory-Making



We got another skiff of snow this morning, and Derek is home today, though he ran out to the grocery store a little while ago for milk and diapers.  The house is relatively quiet right now.  He left while I was still in bed, so the kids are upstairs watching some cartoon or another on TV.  Aside from some footsteps running across the floorboards above my head occasionally, it is peaceful and quiet.

I have no big plans for the day, aside from homeschool and working on my Christmas card list (Christmas time and this baby's arrival are looming).  I will probably do something a bit more elaborate for dinner, and by that I mean I'll spend the 45 minutes it takes to cut up potatoes for potato soup.  It's a potato soup kind of day.

But for now, it's quiet, and I'm hunkering down in my room, trying to figure out what to write today.  I was going to write about more frivolous things, but there are a few deeper thoughts left in the month after all.  Snow always puts me in a reflective mood, and this morning I'm reflecting on keeping a good balance between memory-keeping and memory-making.

Much has been said about how obsessed we all are with getting the perfect picture to share on social media, and viewing our lives through the lens of our phone instead of the lenses of our eyes.  I'm not sure I'm going to go that route with this post, because I've written this month already about how it's hard for me to even remember certain events without some documentation.  I am not gifted with an impeccable memory for times and places and events, so writing something down or snapping a picture keeps these things from being lost to me forever.  I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting to document the past, and indeed I think it's important.  It's most important I think so we don't forget what God has done.  How far He has brought us, and how He has worked in our lives and  grown our character up to the present moment.

However, I think there is a certain danger in getting too caught up in the past.  How we've "always" done things.  How things "used to be".  

Because the more years behind you the more you realize that things never stay exactly the same.

And that statement sounds wistful and sad somehow, but I don't really think it has to be.  Because would we really even want things to stay the same forever?  Would we want to never move to the next stage of life, to never watch our babies get bigger and develop their personalities, to never develop new traditions, try something new, grow?

There is room for a bit of sentimentality about the past I think, as long as we don't get stuck in our reminiscing about "the good ole days".  Because these days that we're in right now, these very present moments, are good too.  They drift on by, and tomorrow will be a memory before we even realize it.  And I think it's good to embrace the way things change, to hold on to our memories while making fresh, different ones in the present moment, and not to resent the fact that things aren't always "the same".  Because really, how boring would things get if they always were?

My goal I think, in all this memory-keeping, is to remember all that God has done for me this far, but not so I can wish for the way things used to be.  I want to remember His faithfulness and gifts in the past so my eyes are wide open for His faithfulness and gifts that are still in the future.  And when I keep that balance between the memory-keeping and the memory-making yet to be done, I think it's easier to live fully in the blessings of right now, and to be grateful for them.



How Do You Organize Your Photos?



Today I want to talk about a practical aspect of memory-keeping, namely, how I go about organizing photos.

First, I feel like I should clarify that I am not actually very good at this.  I have plenty of photos stored on my computer, and I have something of an organization system, but there is much room for improvement.  Still, I thought I'd share what I do and ask how you all go about organizing photos!

Organizing Digital Photos

For my digital photos, I try to keep the photos I take organized in folders by year and month.  So I'll have a folder for 2017, and in that folder I'll have a folder for each month.  In recent years I've organized them even further and I try to split each month into separate "event" folders - for example, in my September 2017 folder I have folders for "Autumn Hike", "Clarice's Birthday", "34 Weeks Pregnant", etc.  I think this helps me find the photos I'm looking for a little easier, assuming I can remember the year/month of the event - which I usually can, because I somehow am able to remember pictures I take even better than the real-life events.  This is one reason why taking photos is so important to me!  It helps me remember the different fun things we did together.

My recent project - and by recent I mean the project I've been working on over the last year and a half - is going through all these folders and deleting the photos that were no good.  In the past, I've gotten lazy and just dumped photos into a folder without editing them or deleting the throw-aways, so I'm trying to clear out some of the photo clutter.  I am in the process of creating a folder for each year of my "favorite" photos, the ones that I would actually like to get printed up (this is difficult because there are so many).

Which leads to the next aspect of organizing my photos...

Organizing Printed Photos

I am really struggling with figuring out how to organize my printed photos.  I have albums from our early years of marriage and Wyatt's first couple of years, but I quickly realized that I'm not going to have enough room in my house to store albums of all our family photos.  So what to do?  Like I said, I have a ton of photos that I hope to eventually get printed.  I need to narrow them down further, but then what?  

I'm considering just buying cute-looking boxes to hold each year of photos - I can fit a lot more prints into a box than in albums.  However, I'm also aware that this is a messier option and not as fun as an album to look through, so I'm still debating on what to do.  It's going to take me a while to get caught up on printing photos, so I guess I have time to figure it out!

So how do you all organize your photos?  Do you have any sort of system?  Are you better than I am at getting them printed up?  Give me your tips!


Gwen Girl At Four


Every year I try to write a birthday letter to each of the kids, with some special characteristics or memory of them at that moment in time.  However, somehow last year Gwen's birthday letter never got posted, and since I'm focusing on memory-keeping this month, I thought this was a good opportunity to catch up.  This is what I wrote for my sweet Gwen's 4th birthday, which is in December!  It's probably good that I'm sharing this since her 5th birthday letter will be due in a couple months!

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My Sweet Gwen Ruby,

I can't believe I'm typing your 4th birthday letter.  Even as I was thinking about what I wanted to say, I kept thinking you were three years old.  I lost a year somewhere.

Your request this year was for a Minnie Mouse birthday party, and your favorite gift was your Minnie Mouse dress-up dress.  You look absolutely adorable in it, your brown eyes shining.

I think one of my favorite things about 4-year-old you is how creative you are.  Almost every morning I'll hear your little feet tripping across the floor upstairs, the drawer opening, and skipping steps back to your room.  You sneak paper and crayons and scissors into your room, and I am trying to look past the mess because it's amazing all the creations you come up with.  You're my little budding artist (and dancer), and I love that about you.

This year you asked Jesus to come into your heart and forgive your sins, and it was the sweetest little moment, Darling.  You carried your new Bible so proudly to church the next day.  You'll understand more and more about our Savior and His sacrifice for us through reading His Word in the coming years, but what a sweet little foundation you have to build on now.

My darling, you are such an important part of this family.  For lack of a better word, you sparkle.  I'll just look at you sometimes, and you'll stare back at me with those big brown eyes, and I can see your happy spirit sparkling behind them.  You cheer up my days Sweetie, and I love you more than I can say.  I don't deserve such a sweet, beautiful girl as you.


Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

-Mama



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