simple homeschooling schedule

I can’t believe it, but we were able to start school early this year, so today completes our third week of school. Currently, our family has children in four different stages of learning, but we try to weave everyone into the same daily rhythm. We have shared about our school day here before.

It is more fruitful for us to begin early in the morning, although no one at our house is an early riser – not daddy, not mommy, not anyone. For us, it really is rewarding to get into the rhythm of starting early. Our day’s routine has slowly formed over years of tweaking. When we were not getting done until supper, it was very frustrating to the children. When I was losing them to various activities in the morning or during lunch, it was very frustrating to me. This rhythm has helped to shape our days, and we have followed a very similar version of this schedule for several years.

STAGES OF LEARNING

1 – Alexander and Eva are part of the Classical Conversations homeschool group where they receive tutoring once a week on all their subjects. Hence, for the most part, they require little input from me. Their days are mostly outlined by their assignment guide which has a checklist of what to work on for each day at home. Alexander (15) does Bible reading, geometry, British literature, Latin, Spanish, biology, Western Cultural History, debate, and Traditional Logic II. Eva (14) does Bible reading, math, Latin, History of Astronomy (science), American history, exposition and composition (language arts), and Introductory Logic.

2 – William (12), Isabel (10), and Nora (8) do Bible reading (devotional), math, handwriting, spelling, grammar (William and Isabel), writing (William and Isabel), and reading aloud (Nora). These subjects they do daily. History (early modern) and science (astronomy) we only do three days a week. William, Isabel, and Nora require some help like answering questions, grading homework, taking tests, and listening to them read aloud. They are learning to follow instructions and understand the lesson’s directions without my guidance. Nathan’s mom comes one morning a week to teach grammar and writing to William and Isabel. We’re so grateful for her help!

3 – Providence (6) is doing kindergarten. She does letters (phonics), numbers (easy arithmetic), and handwriting. I sit with her for all her lessons.

4 – Samuel and James sleep in and usually get up after 8. If we’ve already started school lessons, then they have breakfast, and I turn my attention to them for a little bit. My goal is to read to them during this time. They miss Bible study in the morning, so I recently ordered a Bible story book and look forward to reading to them a short story every day. I spend some time with the little ones while being in the same area where the children sit to do school. In our house, this is crucial for progress : ).

DAILY SCHEDULE

  • 6am – wake up. personal care. make beds.
  • 7 – instrument practice. chores (feeding the animals, wipe bathrooms, empty trash bins)
  • 8 – start school
  • 12 – lunch. chores (flip laundry, collect eggs, dishes)
  • 1 – back to school

During the afternoon, I do history and science with William, Isabel, and Nora (3 days). Alexander and Eva continue their schoolwork until 3 or 3:30. Providence and Samuel play, and James takes a nap.

The late afternoon is left for nature walks, going to the park, sewing with mom (mainly Eva), watercolor (mainly the older girls), writing letters/pictures of thank you or encouragement, baking/cooking with mom, outside projects (mainly the big boys), or just playing and riding bikes. The season determines much of what happens during this part of our day.

This is what this year’s homeschool schedule looks like for our family. It was really helpful for me to put this post together, and I’ll be glad to have this reminder of what the years with so many stages of learning looked like in our home.

 from our farmhouse kitchen with love, Damaris


For Our 18th Anniversary

photos credit: Eva L. Kirkpatrick

From the very beginning of our relationship, we’ve both always said that “opposites attract” is not a true statement. Very shortly after we meet in that creative writing class, we talked for hours discovering how much we had in common. Even though we’d been raised worlds apart (literally), we were so alike that we couldn’t imagine anyone, so dissimilar being this close.

Today is our 18th wedding anniversary. Even though we have so, so many ways and things in common, I (and the children) came up with 18 things in which we are different. Nathan has not seen this list, and I can’t wait to hear him chuckle in consent.

1- I don’t use the snooze, but he plans for it.

2- He loves water, and I’m not a confident swimmer.

3- I thrive on change. He’s steady.

4- His virtue is delayed gratification, but I enjoy something new.

5- He’s good at impromptu, and I need to plan.

6- “Sleep is overrated,” he says. Bedtime is never too early for me.

7- I like sweet drinks, and he enjoys bitter coffee.

8- He’s prudent, but I move quickly.

9- I have wanderlust. He’s a homebody.

10- He enjoys a juicy burger, but I live on vegetables.

11- I’m from the old world, and he’s from the new.

12- He’s daring, and I’m fearful.

13- I’m cautious, but driving dangerous roads is a thrill for him.

14- I was trained in music, and he was trained in sports.

15- He says,”I’ll find another use for it.” I throw it away.

16- When I see a crisis, he sees a resolution.

17- I can feel overwhelmed and nervous. He’s calm and collected.

18- He rules his life by principles, yet I fall prey to convenience.

Regardless of differences, we are two sinners who God chose to bring together for such a time as this: to serve Him in this place as we nurture eight beautiful children.

On a very warm Spanish summer evening, eighteen years ago, we said “I do.” I’ve never looked back. Happy 18th Wedding Anniversary, My Love!


postpartum care and wardrobe

There is so much hype surrounding labor and preparing for baby’s arrival that many moms don’t even consider how they’re going to feel when they get home.

It’s not uncommon to feel like time is both standing still and moving too quickly. The fourth trimester is an important time that shouldn’t be rushed. For our baby, for ourselves, and for our families, we’re better off to prepare. While the magical and exhausting days after birth bliss pass quickly, we need to be aware of our body’s healing.

“I don’t have time to shower!” is something every new mom feels in the first few weeks (okay, months). Today I’m sharing what I’ve used to feel a little more put together without taking much time. Also, the fourth trimester attire is real and necessary.  Mandatory soft sweats, stretchy jammies, and soft sleeping/sports bras make a tremendous difference in our mood and comfort during the several weeks of postpartum.

Here’s a list with links to all of my favorite items for postpartum wardrobe and care:

Cleansing Face Wipes – I love these! They are perfect to keep in the nightstand for washing my face at the 3am feeding, if I haven’t gotten to it earlier. These are quick, no getting out of bed, no waiting for the water to run warm at the sink, no lathering, etc. : )

Dry Shampoo – always smells good and when you spray the roots, you actually get lots of volume. It’s a multipurpose product that helps you feel fresh and combats flat, day-old (or two or three) hair.

Perineal Spray – it provides healing and relief without the chemicals. The application is just a simple and light spray.

Feminine Pads – the length of time you may use these varies tremendously between 10 days or so to 6 or more weeks. I like the long and thin for most comfort and extra coverage at night.

Depends/Always Discreet Underwear – what the hospital provides is usually not tight or secure. It’s mesh and itchy and never stays in place. I brought these to the hospital and was so happy I did! I wore them until the package was empty which was just right. They are very comfortable, you feel very dry with no leaks, and they have a little built-in support for feeling covered and all tucked in.

Breast Cream – this is a must. I always use it consistantly for the first couple of weeks. I’m so afraid of getting chapped or worse. This balm gives very thick protection.

Nursing Pads – disposable is quick and you may not need them for very long. I like to wear them especially during the weeks I apply the breast cream since it can stain or leave a greasy residue on clothing.

Witch Hazel Pads – these are my secret weapon. I have used them for all of my postpartums (eight), and it feels very cooling and clean. I use them until the package is gone. First, I wear them over the pad, later, I use them to wipe and feel like the healing is coming along.

Underwear – just a couple of these help smooth out the middle-section so fabrics don’t cling in all the wrong places ; )

High-waisted Leggings – they cover the tummy when nursing for more comfort. These have a gentle compression that secures the post-baby belly and feels supportive on my back.

Seamless, Soft Sports Bra – I always wear one through labor and delivery and really for the first few weeks. It doesn’t tug or dig anywhere and you still feel supported. Later, when I wore regular nursing bras, I still wore these to bed for the comfort for sleep and ease of nursing.

Sweatshirt – soft and cozy adds a little comfort when you’re extremely tired. This works great when you’re too sleepy to change into pajamas.

Protein Drink – helped me get to the next meal if we were going to be out or if i was nursing/pumping and couldn’t get a bit to eat until a little later.

Concealer – this one is thick and a very little bit goes a long way. I’m still using it over a year later.

Audio Bible – listened everyday and brought so much joy to my soul. I would switch up the versions (a different reader with each one). I purposed to listen during my morning feeding/pumping session. It was very comforting and I looked forward to it.

Tylenol – when you’re not a first-time mom, afterbirth pains may be intense. I have sometimes taken it just to not think about it. Afterbirth pains should taper off within the first week.

Nursing/lounging Clothes – you may have taken some to the hospital, but if not, having a couple sets at home is very practical. You’re comfortable and discreet for visitors, but can slip into bed for a quick nap midday, too. It’s a wonderful feeling to change into clean clothes when there are so many messes around : )

Probiotics – I mentioned similar ones in a previous post regarding postpartum preparation. It was helpful to take them through the postpartum weeks to keep the digestive system regular. It may boost the immune system, so I take it in hopes to compensate for lack of sleep lowering my immune system.

Water Bottle – staying hydrated is so important! It will affect your milk supply. I like this kind because I can sip it while driving without having to tilt the bottle. It also doesn’t require two hands to unscrew when nursing.

Extra Set of Bedsheets – if baby’s diaper leaking and spitting up the whole feeding doesn’t convince you, then mom’s night sweats and midnight snacking in bed will. You’ll need another set of sheets for a 3:15am bed change. Choose natural fibers like cotton or linen.

 from our farmhouse kitchen with love, Damaris


family currents: last call to summer

August began with a hot sun, though it didn’t hang on to the summer song long. We all seemed keenly aware this year that the changing days would soon give way to the start of school, and we savored the last of summertime’s fun.

Eva and William got to take tennis lessons through our township’s Rec and Ed. Thursday evenings were spent at the park riding bikes, playing in the play structures, or walking the trails while we waited for them.


Since our anniversary and my birthday were in August, we went on a couple outings without the children. We took lots of pictures and told them all about it, though : ). We are so blessed to celebrate 17 years of wedded bliss!


Samuel had a birthday. He’s 3!!! It’s truly the magical birthday age. He was very aware his special day was coming and couldn’t contain his long trains of questions, “And get presents? And blow candles? And my birthday? And get presents?”


We also went to the lake because if you live in Michigan, it is the proper way to enjoy summer. Of course, thunderstorms rolled in, and we packed up our encampment pretty quickly to enjoy a bowl of lentil stew at home.


This was the year of the frog. The children found so. many. frogs and toads! Cicadas, katydids (green leaf bug), praying mantis, and garden spiders also went into Samuel’s new bug box. And sometimes all at once. Not a good outcome for some. Nope.


This was also the summer we ran an animal rescue. Eva started the summer with a baby raccoon she named Boone.

And the three little girls found three baby bunnies!


We enjoyed pizzas on the grill most Sunday afternoons, and sometimes shared it with friends. Alexander would get pretty creative with the toppings, and Nathan grilled them to a crispy perfection. Our long picnic table makes for easy after supper clean-up, so we ate most suppers al fresco.


Nathan had bought a few large sky lanterns, and on the last weekend of August (while lovely friends were visiting), all the boys released the lanterns as a Farewell to Summer.

 from our farmhouse kitchen with love, Damaris


modest teen girl outfits for back to school

Since summer is coming to an end, we’ve begun looking at the fall clothes that we have and what we need to add to the children’s wardrobes. I’m especially focused on the older kids’ wardrobes, since they don’t have a previous sibling’s clothes waiting to be rediscovered from a storage tote in the basement…

So that means Eva and I have an awesome excuse to go shopping! Shopping for clothes for Eva, who is now 13, means browsing the women’s section. Yes! She’s all grown up, and I couldn’t be more pleased. She’s a true blessing in our home as a sister/friend and a loving helper.

As we picked transition outfits for the new season, we had two criteria:

  1. modest yet stylish
  2. at a good price

Looking or shopping for clothes is a good opportunity to talk about and instill in our daughters a sense of modesty. Finding age-appropriate, feminine, fashionable clothes can be hard, and it is equally challenging to find them at a reasonable price.

It’s important to add that modesty is a virtue, and dressing modestly doesn’t make you modest. Trying not to draw undue attention to ourselves is both in action and in dress. Particularly as moms, we should help our teenagers recognize that their attractiveness is not tied up in their clothes. We should encourage them to feel respectable, appropriate, decent, and humble as they transition throughout the seasons of life.

This past week, Eva and I looked for items that she’d like to add to her wardrobe. We’re including some that she already owns or are very similar. Both of us think you’re going to love these outfits and find them perfect for the transition from summer to fall.

 from our farmhouse kitchen with love, Damaris


our summer road trip: part 2

Our family had the privilege of taking a road trip to Colorado this summer, and amidst many fun adventures (read about it here), our van broke. Descending down the mountain after our long hike to Calypso Cascades in Rocky Mountain National Park, the brakes broke on the van.

It took a couple of days for Nathan to find the parts, get to town to pick them up, and repair the van brakes. The Lord kept us safe, and we were so grateful for a running vehicle to make the two-day trip back to Michigan.

While it was still so cold in the mountains (and five days without a van), doing laundry at the kitchen sink, reading picture books (which we brought with us from the library) by the fire, and playing board games filled our days.

Finally wrapped in sunshine, we spent the day at a nearby town picnicking, fishing, carousel riding, and visiting the obligatory ice cream shop. I almost forgot about the tiny homemade donuts we ate in a 19th century train car!

The whole family enjoyed the company of our cabin neighbors from down the hill for a few dinners and good games of cards. The big kids roused to the added competition. They have been family friends for three generations watching our family grow from trip to trip. They shared good stories and smoothly engaged the children in conversation.

As for wildlife, on this trip we saw many stellar’s jay, a magpie, wild turkeys, deer, and three male elk (bulls). I’m always very happy to not sight a bear : ).

When our cabin days were over, we began our descent through the St. Vrain canyon, rose skies ahead as we drove east. The older children took a melancholic glance saying “good morning” and “good-bye” and everything that goes in between.

 from our farmhouse kitchen with love, Damaris

P.S. Both on the way out and on the way back, we stayed in Nebraska getting to attend church together and sharing much special cousin time with all of Nathan’s family. Fire works, fishing, building and shooting potato guns, swimming, target shooting, and a talent show made for a most memorable time.


our summer road trip: part 1

Family travel is such a privilege and a gift. This summer we enjoyed a trip west to Colorado. The blur of passing landscapes, munching messy sandwiches, and playing I-SPY until we had a headache, was all part of the whimsy and sense of adventure we experienced.

We welcomed the changing horizon through the different states with the excitement of spending almost two weeks at the family cabin in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

On the second day of driving, the mountains were lifting themselves up as if by magic out of the distance, small in the begining and growing bigger the closer we got.

The familiar cabin greeted all ten giddy vacationers, and the unloading took the rest of the first day. We slid a frozen pasta dish into the oven while we made beds, settled into our rooms, and filled the fridge and pantry with our groceries. For this long cabin stay, I like to have several meals prepared and frozen from home so kitchen prep is minimal allowing us more time to relax. You can read about one of the recent road trips here.

Summer was delayed this year. The air was sharp and supremely clear with even a little snow. On Sunday, we awoke while it was barely light to flurries. For lack of clean warm clothes, we relished our little family worship instead of walking to the village log church.

Nathan and I savored the empty mornings, when the sky was so blue, the floating piles of clouds so shimmering and pearly. We brewed full pots of coffee and swirled pancake batter in a bowl. Slowly, the children would make their way downstairs to the smell of breakfast. With their clean morning faces and bright eyes, each day looking ready for a new adventure.

We hiked as many mornings as we could (if it wasn’t too cold or raining) with the children scampering ahead of us like puppies. Pine needles crunched under our feet as we ascend to Big Rock. While mom frets over holding onto each kid and trying not to look over the edge of the rocks, Nathan and the children love to look for dark roofs of cabins that lay scattered and follow the ribbon of road.

The temperature rose enough that the pine needles smelled their nostalgic sunburnt scent, and we played many rounds of horseshoes.

The wildflowers all around us assumed their full glory. God’s design is perfect!

The only long hike this year was Calypso Cascades. The eight miles round trip were an adventure mostly of endurance. Even little Samuel hiked the whole way there, and Nathan carried him on the way back. We stopped several times on our hike to take in the air and the view. The scape far and wide was rocky and evergreen.

Driving back to the cabin, the van’s brakes broke.

That wraps up this first road trip post, but you can expect more about what happened to the big family van the rest of our trip experiences next week.

 from our farmhouse kitchen with love, Damaris


10 things you’d never know about me

As you can tell from previous posts, sometimes Nathan shares his thoughts in this space, often we have pictures that Alexander or Eva have taken, but mostly it’s my joy. I relish making this little corner of cyberworld my delightful dwelling.

Hence this post – a get to know me of sorts. Just a few things about my life which may surprise you. In compiling this list, I asked the children if there were any more “strange things about mom” that I should add. Quickly and puzzled they replied, “You want people to think you’re weird?” Ha!

Here are 10 things you’d never know about me:

  • born and raised in a pastor’s home
  • never owned a curling iron
  • pregnant 11 times
  • never floss
  • doing yoga on and off for 12 years (Just the exercise not the meditation)
  • never had a big mac or a whopper
  • had 1 cesarean, 1 unmedicated delivery and 6 with epidural
  • vegetarian before I had children
  • never broken a bone
  • learned English as a second language when I was 8 years old

Now it’s my turn to hear about you. I would enjoy that very much!

 from our farmhouse kitchen with love, Damaris


anxiety

I began writing this post in late January.  For reasons which you will understand through the post, I have been absent from this space for several months.  I can hardly remember writing it, but it seemed fit to return with this post.  I found it in my drafts this week, and the words came to finish it.  Even though it was difficult to revisit these days as I wrote, I have prayed it brings the praise to God which my heart longs to share.


We’re snowed in on this frosted Sunday, and my mind keeps racing back to the last time I stayed home from church on a Sunday.  A couple of the children were sick, you know, the little guys that don’t cover their mouth when they cough.  Although it was prudent to keep them home from church, the worst part was that the baby was sick too.  I can’t remember having a sick baby this tiny before, and his cough was bad.  Even though I’d taken him to the doctor a couple days before, hearing clear lungs and nothing to worry about didn’t calm this mama’s heart.  Making things worse, I had been dealing with an awful sinus infection for almost three weeks.  

The pressure was aggravated by having extra people in our home since everyone is a bit out of sorts.  My parents were here visiting us for a couple of weeks, and they all went to church together.  As soon as my dad walked in, he cheerfully (clearly his soul and body had been refreshed by worshiping) asked how the morning had been.  I about lost it.  Seriously!  He wants to know?!  “Wiping noses again and again, pumped twice, changed three diapers, bathed the baby, dressed the toddler, made beds, ran the laundry, rubbed eucalyptus on their chests several times, gave them cough syrup.” And I stopped. 

The more I was rattling off the stresses of the morning, the more my anxiety grew. Right then Nathan walked in and immediately knew I was a mess. “We’ve just walked in, and you’re in a terrible mood.” All the sickness, all the messes I can’t get to –everything is getting to me. I knew what it felt like, so I excused my behavior and said it was anxiety. I thought I was being very brave to call it by name, but Nathan reminded me “It’s still wrong.”

Since the birth of our eighth child, it has been a stretching season. From experiencing a colic baby for more than three months, to not training to sleep very well, to nursing difficulties, I have felt challenged like I haven’t experienced before with our previous babies. It’s been a constant journey of laying my burdens down before the Lord, seeking His wisdom, and crying out for help. How easily I succumbed to the lie that this is too much for me! I wanted to wallow in defeat.

Living in a state of feeling overwhelmed means I lose sight of joy, and God’s sovereign and good plans for me, and I’m depending on my own strength instead of His. After weeks and perhaps months of feeling overwhelmed, my natural tendency is to become anxious.

Anxiety is deep fear that we can’t keep up with our calling.  It becomes too large to bear and too heavy to share, yet God has been bringing deep refreshment to my soul in the last few weeks.  He gently continues to calm my anxious heart.  The lie that I can’t do it comes from the enemy, but the truth is God did not give me more than He would also supply the grace for me to handle.  He will equip me for the calling.  

As we allow these verses to dwell in our minds and hearts, let us also pray for each other:

God gave us not a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

2 Timothy 1:5-7

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

 from our farmhouse kitchen with love, Damaris


The Peaceful Birth of James Nicolas

On Saturday evening, October 20th, we had plans to watch a kids cartoon movie and get ready for church. I prepared baked French toast for Sunday breakfast (ready to bake in the morning), ironed necessary outfits, and we all sat to watch the little movie. That’s when I realized that the sporadic contractions I had a few times a day the last couple of days were just a little more intense. They came so far apart that I would even forget to look at the time in order to keep better track of the progress.

I chose to sit on my exercise ball while everybody cozied up on the sofa under blankets. Of course Samuel wanted to sit with me, so we bounced on the ball for the duration of most of the movie. Since I was hoping this was labor, I held Samuel close and whispered in his ear all sorts of sweetness during the movie. It’s always a silent goodbye to the toddler when one brings a new baby home. At least that’s the tiny heartache I was feeling that Saturday night.

At around 7:30pm, towards the end of the movie, I went upstairs and took a shower wondering if it would all progress during the night and wanting to be ready. When the children were all ready for bed, I was drying my hair and told Nathan about the contractions, but that labor didn’t seem to be moving along. He agreed that we could have everything ready just in case. I saw that he pulled the hospital bag from the closet adding a few things to it. He asked if I was going to bed, which I begrudgingly did. By now it was 10:30pm, and the contractions were still 8-10 minutes apart. There was no reason to stay up to wait for what might slow down or even go away during the night. Nathan fell asleep while I watched the nightstand clock…Every…Ten…Minutes.

By midnight, I was sleeping between the contractions, since I could no longer stay awake. Nothing had changed since 7pm. At 3:04am (8 hours later), I couldn’t get comfortable to work through this contraction, and got out of bed. Four minutes later came another one just the same, and another one. By 3:15am, I knew this was it.

I woke Nathan up, made the bed, grabbed the bag, and he made the call to his parents. And we called again. And again. And again for half an hour! By 4am, we knew we had to go, so Nathan woke Alexander and Eva to explain that Grandpa and Grandma would listen to their voicemail first thing in the morning and come right over. Thankfully, our children are not early risers. : )

We headed to the hospital down quiet, empty streets – I wanted to remember it forever. We checked in to triage where they asked for my birthing preferences: unmedicated and water birth. The midwife said I was 7 cm along and that baby looked great and head down. Perfect! Then we walked to our spacious and birthing tub room. The nurse brought an exercise ball, and I rested over it with my knees on the floor. I had my verse cards and read and meditated on one for 15 minutes or so. This kept my mind focused, filled my heart with peace, and gave my a prayerful spirit.

At around 7am, I got in the warm tub. I imagined we were getting closer although the contractions didn’t seem to have become stronger during our time in the room. Now in the water, they were 8 minutes apart. I knew that the water might slow labor down, so this didn’t bother me. At 9:30am (after being in the tub 2 1/2 hours and contractions still 8 minutes apart), I asked the midwife what her opinion was on breaking my water.

I had requested not to be checked during labor, but I realized the midwife would need to confirm the baby’s head engagement before breaking the bag of waters. She returned at 10am, examined, and baby’s head was perfect to proceed with breaking the water. I was still at 7 cm. I had not dilated any more since our arrival at the hospital at 4:30am (almost 6 hours later). This confirmed that the decision was timely.

I got back into the tub, and a few minutes later, by 10:30am, contractions were very different. I stood up out of the water and hung onto Nathan’s neck. Then came another one so strong that I walked out of the tub much to Nathan’s alarm. “Where are you going?” He asked repeatedly with concern. I couldn’t say, I just needed to get out and move. I never went back into the tub.

Things moved so quickly. I asked Nathan to call the nurse because I needed help. “There must be something they can do for me.” Nathan brought me a nose strip to put on my nose! (I had asked him to pick them up at the store, for better breathing in case I felt the need). I had been feeling lightheaded during these last few intense contractions which made me feel like I couldn’t catch my breath – I just couldn’t take a breath that was deep enough. This made me very anxious, and I felt that I needed help. I couldn’t do this. Nathan gave me the nose strip which made me annoyed because I couldn’t believe he thought this is the help I needed!

In the previous weeks I had made Nathan promise that he wouldn’t give-in if I asked for pain medicine. It. Was. INTENSE! I managed to get past Nathan to press the nurse button. The nurse and the midwife came in, and I was on the end of the bed working through transition. I still wanted help, and Nathan said to me, “Remember all the people that are praying for you.”

The midwife suggested that I get on the bed because I seemed a little unstable (shaky legs). With each of the next few contractions, I felt the need to push at the end of the contraction. I was on my knees and with each contraction, I could feel the progress. I held onto Nathan next to me and just focused. The midwife and the nurse were sitting in chairs next to the table of post-delivery supplies. All was quiet the entire time, until I called out that the baby was crowing. It was 11:06am when the midwife came to the bed and said to catch my baby. “That’s it. He’s here. I’m done. He’s here. He’s mine.” I was elated.

James is now almost 2 months old, and it’s a daily delight to get to know him. We are grateful for the gift of God of this new boy, and for all of your prayers and sweet words of encouragement throughout the pregnancy and as labor approached. It made all the difference to remember those cherished prayers!

with love, Damaris