Post-Partum Exhilaration

A lot of photo worthy events have happened over the last couple of months so this will be a very picture intensive blog entry. I had a hard time narrowing it down to even these pictures.

Stephen and I both agree that our transition to 4 children has been very smooth and easy. Elijah is an incredibly sweet baby who is still very sleepy and quite peaceful even when he is awake. The kids are totally wild about him. They kiss, hug and hold him as much as they can get away with. My only issue has been keeping them from absolutely smothering him. He takes it all in stride and seems unfazed by their constant attention.

Life has been good for me too. I recovered relatively quickly and was soon thrilled to feel back to normal after a very LONG and painful pregnancy. I haven’t spent one moment not totally grateful to have some mobility again. There is so much about life that you take for granted until you are hugely and very uncomfortably pregnant. I still can’t get over how wonderful it is to be able to tie my shoes without significant strain or roll over in bed without extreme amounts of pain. I’ll never understand post-partum depression. I get the opposite phenomenon. Post-partum exhilaration. What could be better than having your sweet baby in your arms and not in your belly? I feel very content with my little family just the way it is right now.

This week I have gotten back into the swing of things. I am back to homeschooling Evan and doing pre-school things with the little ones in the morning. A couple of days I took all 4 kids to the pool by myself and today I ventured out to go grocery shopping with all of the kids and no help. It all went surprisingly wonderfully. I think they know that they HAVE to be on their best behavior when it is 4 against one or mom will snap. They have seen me snap. . . it is not pretty.

Elijah:
-His first name came from the bible character, Elijah, because he was an amazing man of God. We bounced around other bible names, but I was stubborn in the fact that I didn’t want him named after a character with a glaring error. It is hard enough to live for the Lord without reading about the sins of a person you were named after. Not that David, Peter, Paul, Abraham or many other men in the bible aren’t Godly men. I am not saying that Elijah was sinless. I just like the idea that there is no glaring sin associated with Elijah for him to read about.
-His middle name was by far the most debated name of any of our children. The rest of the names came very easily for Stephen and I, but this one took us until just moments before we were discharged from the hospital to settle on. The birth certificate people were literally breathing down our necks. Then from nowhere Stephen comes up the perfect name! There are 4 things we associate with the name Andrew which make this name very special to us.
1. Stephen’s beloved Grandmother’s last name was Andrews.
2. I have a very godly and beloved cousin named Andrew Ringsmuth.
3. Andrew is a name of the first disciple called by Jesus.
4. Stephen’s nephew (A.J.), who passed away in 2005 from SIDS at just 6 months old, had the first name Andrew.

Julia:
-Julia’s newest invented song, “If you are Father Abraham and you know it clap your hands. If you are Father Abraham and you know it clap your hands. If you are Father Abraham and you know it then your face will surely show it, if you are Father Abraham and you know it clap your hands!!”
-The names of the innocent have been protected in the story for the sake of future Julia who may read this story, but we were all in Stephen’s workshop while he was building a new picnic table for our deck. Julia takes a piece of sandpaper and runs it over the backside of another family member and says, “Look [so-and-so], now your butt is nice and smooth!”
-Has a mind for directions just like her mother. If we have been somewhere in the past year, even if we have not been there since, she will remember having been there. We bought a deer lick for the deer who are always out in our yard last summer at an obscure farmer’s supply store. We happened to need to be in that area again recently and she said, “Look! This is the way we go to get to the deer food store!!” She is always coming up with stuff like that.

Harrison:
-Turned 2 on June 2nd.
-Really likes broccoli.
-Has really mastered his letter sounds. He still says the “S” sound for “TH”, as does Julia, but most everything else he can say. Some sounds are still hard to say in the midst of a word, but if he can’t get it right away he will work at it until he does. Evan was the same way. They both like to pronounce things very well. Evan still has a bit of a lisp with his S’s, but otherwise he is very clear.
-Sings all of time to himself as he is playing. He also makes up songs as he is going along to narrate what he is doing or what is going on at that moment. He might sing a song as we are going grocery shopping that goes like this, “I am going to Publix to go shopping, and mommy is putting juice in the cart. Evan is walking over there. La La La . . ” And so on and so forth like that.
-I would say he has the vocabulary and grammar skills of your average 3 year old.
-Is totally terrified of bees. He screams like he is being killed when a bee flies by, though he has never been stung by one. One got into the house several weeks ago and all three kids sat petrified in their chairs and screamed bloody murder until I had captured and killed it. They didn’t run away or offer any assistance. They just screamed and screamed. I am sure the neighbors heard it. If they didn’t hear the screaming they surely heard me laughing at the whole scene.
-Is begining to master his colors.
-Opened a door for the first time on his own the day before his second birthday. Before that he would just pat on the door and his big brother and sister would service him. They spoil him rotten.
-For some reason the only songs I can think to sing to the kids are 80’s praise and worship songs. I sing the song, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, there’s just something about that name. . . ” to the boys every night before bed at Evan’s request. Harrison now sings the song word for word several times throughout the day. I need to get it on video.

Evan:
-is growing and maturing so much lately. He is declaring his independence and becoming so brave. For example, he is obsessed with tree climbing in the yard. He shimmies up trees as far as he can go or will climb out a tree that is leaning over the creek with no fear. He makes plans for what he will do when he falls in. Usually that would be something I would have to ensure him was OK, but now I have to be careful because before I know it he is down in the water trying something else out or experimenting with borderline dangerous things around the house.
*decided a couple of weeks before Elijah was born that he wanted to name him Elijah Uncle James.
*is learning to ride a bike. Stephen has been teaching him in the back yard and he is doing very well. He can ride straight for a ways until he decides to look back and see where Stephen is. I remember doing the same thing as a kid when my Uncle Tony taught me to ride except I was on pavement in our alley out back so my crashes were extremely painful.
*has decided lately that he is smarter than me. He can also do everything all by himself now, which has been an interesting battle between him and I as well. He will argue with me about everything because, frankly, he has it all worked out and I am irrelevant. . . This coming from a 4 year old. It will be interesting when he is 16.
-while Grandma Tynes was here he learned how to talk in a southern accent and now speaks with a very phony southern accent every time he remembers to. It cracks us up.
-on 5/30/08 Evan figured out how to open childproof caps.
-Has become a know-it-all.

Evan loves to climb trees.

Harrison and Gus are best buddies. Harrison calls him “Gussy, Gussy”.

We were blessed to get a weekend with their cousins Quin and Aaron.

This was how they chose to say goodbye.

This is how Harrison said goodbye.

A day at the zoo.

Spagetti Man.

Julia’s special time making a birthday cake with mom.

She decorated her own princess cake.

Blowing out her candles. She was overwhelmed to the MAX by her party.

Evan camping with Daddy and Grandpa for the first time.

Stephen barely making it into the picture of the waterfalls they hiked to.

Grandpa and Evan bonding by the lake.

Art time.

Time with great-grandma and grandpa Ringsmuth and Aunt Donna at Aunt Jessica’s graduation party.

Harrison is beginning to play very simple computer games.

The day before Eli was born.

One last moment with my GIANT belly before Eli was born.

One last tummy kiss.

I just like this picture of me enjoying my children.

This needs to be a poster.

Daddy and the crew.

Grandma Tynes brought them new umbrella’s they had to use the moment it rained.


I love their feet.

They spend a lot of time holding and kissing their baby brother.

Male bonding.

Julia’s first, non-scribble, drawing. She says this is a cat.

Eli’s first Chiropractor appointment. I forgot the camera for his first doctor’s appointment.

The original Hershey’s kiss courtesy of Harrison.

The kids love to watch me bathe him.

Eli is the first baby to tolerate the swing. He will sit in it for a few minutes.

Harrison’s special time with mommy to make his birthday cake.

He decorated it himself.

Harrison’s second birthday party.

A small model sized replica of my home neighborhood made by my Aunt Renee and Uncle Ray in Kentucky where we visited last week. (The home I grew up in was the white one on the far right)
The kids admiring this amazing model train set-up in Kentucky last week.

The kids enjoying the rural setting of Ray and Renee’s place.


We must have paddled 1,000 miles in circles around that tiny pond in Kentucky.

Aunt Renee enjoying baby duty.

I don’t think I always look this bad. Yikes!

We went on a mountain hike in Tennessee last week my Uncle Scott, Aunt Jen and their 4 children. Eli is in a pouch on my tummy in this picture.

The kids LOVED riding down their driveway in Tennessee on these scateboards. They were out there all day.

Though Benji is actually my first cousin, my kids just think Scott and Jen’s kids are their cousins all the same. Benji and Evan are 14 months apart and two peas in a pod when they are together.

Experimenting with how many ways they can ride this scateboard down the hill together.

Julia looks like a princess riding a scateboard down a driveway.

Cousins Lauren and Abby admire Julia’s new baby.

My first trip to the pool by myself with all 4 kids. I took them to the grocery store for the first time by myself shortly after this. Both experiences went very well.

Dr. Julia

This video includes:

-Elijah shortly after birth

-The kids first meet Elijah

-Harrison sings and talks

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