We are a deeply committed couple in our 30's, and the parents of five precious children on a radical journey to get out of debt, build our faith, our family and our home on 11 1/2 acres of land in the hills of beautiful, Southwest Virginia. Our desire is to use our lives and our resources to encourage others. Sometimes the journey is incredible, sometimes it seems impossible. Here you can read about both because such is life...
It is so hard to believe that this is Thanksgiving week! I feel that I have spent the entire month of November and most of October being consumed with having Mercy and now the Holidays have just crept up on me. Thankfully I did do a little shopping and planning ahead this year so I won't be so overwhelmed. I don't plan to make near as many goodies this year since I still have quite a bit of pregnancy weight to lose but I still plan to make this season as special as I can for the kids. We are going to Bluefield to spend Thanksgiving with Nana and Pops this year and I usually make a paper Thanksgiving Turkey with the kids and we all write something we are thankful for on a feather. The kids are already in Bluefield though so I guess we won't make a turkey this year. I would still like to list the things I am most thankful for.
I am Thankful...
1. That I am a daughter of the King of the Kings and my Father loves me and feels the same way about me as I feel about little Mercy!
2. That my Father gave me dreams for my life as a teenager and has answered the cry of my heart to be a wife and mother of many!
3. That I am happier than I have ever been!
4. For a wonderful church family and friends that challenge Daniel and I to live for the Lord in all we do. There have been times in our lives where we have not had this and life was much more difficult.
5. For Daniel and the kids who are my family, my ministry, and source of great Joy!
6. For 2 wonderful extended families, the Rich's and the Bradfield's.
7. For my house, I love to feel organized and settled and while this house may not be perfect or have a nice yard it is large enough for a home school family of 6 and I love my kitchen!
8. For Daniels job, It has always been his dream to have his own business that our kids could be a part of and I am so thankful for the time it allows us to have together as a family!
9, For beaches and mountains, I love the outdoors!
10. For the good health my family enjoys.
11. That I live in Southwest VA and love it here.
12. That I have been blessed way beyond what I deserve!
After Grace was born, I, Daniel, wrote the story of Lindsay's labor and delivery. I suppose I will continue that tradition and tell Mercy's story as well.
We know that each and every child is different, unique in it's own way. What we did not expect was that each pregnancy/labor/delivery was also completely different. This one set records and threw us curve balls.
Most of you probably remember that - almost exactly - one year ago (November 10th, 2008) Lindsay and I lost a child due to miscarriage. Then, right at Christmas last year, we lost a 2nd child. These were tough times for us (especially Lindsay) trying to understand both spiritually and physically why. But then - God had mercy (compassion) on us and allowed Lindsay to become pregnant again and carry the baby full term! We thought it would be a neat testimony if our Mercy would be born on November 10th - one year after the first miscarriage. But God had different plans. No dwelling in the past, He gave us a New Day (November 15th, 2009)
So, as I said, this pregnancy and delivery was different. Here is how. All our past pregnancies, Lindsay had few, if any, Braxton hicks contractions and once her labor started, she really went fast! It was less than 3 hours with Grace.
This pregnancy, Lindsay was having contractions off and on for weeks. None of them were strong. None of them did we think she was in labor. It was just different. We had everyone prepped for a fast labor and delivery. Dr. Roberts was going to "sprint to the hospital" (these were his words, which we thought was funny since he had broken his foot)! My parents were going to race down here to help with the kids and because we didn't think they would make it soon enough, we had 3 or 4 people on call ready to come keep the kids.
Baby Mercy Soon After Birth
On Lindsay's due date, Nov. 6th, Lindsay was not quite ready to give birth. She was in full swing "nesting stage" and her "nest" was not quite prepared. My honey-do-list which I had been putting off for months needed to be completed. I am ashamed to say that I had not even completed the girls nursery by Lindsay's due date. I was painting and hanging curtains and Lindsay was deep cleaning and decorating. Lindsay was so intent on having a beautiful "nest" that she even rested when she thought she may have had a contraction. However, by the 9th, the honey-do-list was complete and we were ready for the baby to come! We were sure it would come on the 10th. But the baby didn't come on the 10th, nor the 11th, nor the 12th. We're not superstitions, but we really didn't want it to be born on Friday the 13th. So, it was more of a relief that we made it through that day. I was proud of Lindsay. She really did not get that impatient. Although she was ready for the baby to come - she handled being past due pretty well.
Nana Holding Baby Mercy
Saturday the 14th came. Lindsay's friend Kimmy (who was due a little after Lindsay was) had just had her baby. Lindsay went to visit, then. . . She jumped on the trampoline. She took evening primrose oil. She took castor oil. We went for a long walk. When I drove, I tried to hit every pothole. She jumped up and down in the family room. We also tried something I won't mention.
During our walk, around she started feeling a few light contractions! We decided to go get dinner right then. We had to cut dinner short because the contractions were starting to come more rapidly and a little stronger. We were sure this was it! By around we put our plan into motion. My parents, who were at a fundraiser for the WadeCenter, left immediately! We called Dr. Roberts and apprised him of the situation! Everything was in full swing. . . then Lindsay labor seemed to be slowing down. Perhaps even stopping. What is going on? This has never happened!
The New Family Photo!
In the heat of the moment, my parents forgot their cloths and everything else, and they were wearing dressy cloths. My dad took the Kids back to Bluefield. My mom slept on the couch thinking that at any second we would come down the stairs heading for the hospital.
Finally, at Sunday the 16th, we decided she was far enough along to go to the hospital. She was not in much pain. The contractions were very manageable. They were regular at every 4 min. apart. I think the only person to sleep good that night was me. Everyone else, including the doctor was ready to go.
After arriving at the hospital, the nurse checked Lindsay right away. Lindsay was only 4 cm. dilated and 60% effaced. We were kind of disappointed. We stayed in the room and talked and laughed. Lindsay and I took a couple of walks down the halls. We visited Kimmy, who was still in her room.
Finally, at , Dr. Roberts informed us that Lindsay was at 8 cm. and fully effaced and had been that way for about 1.5 hrs. He suggested that we break Lindsay's water. We agreed to allow this to be done. Lindsay even laughed a little during the conversation. The nurse was amazed and how much Lindsay had it together!
Dr. Roberts broke Lindsay's water and less than 15 min. later I was staring at my new daughter! What a precious little girl! I had been praying for a quick, painless delivery for Lindsay. I think God knows best. Overall Lindsay was in labor for 22.5 hrs. so it was not quick. But, up until the last 15 min. - the pain was not unbearable for her! What mercy God had on us! What an answer to prayer!
Isaac, James, and Grace came tornadoing into the room just a couple hours later to visit their new sister. Isaac was eager to help, offering to carry Mercy everywhere she needed to go and just dieing to hold her. James was James. He doesn't show much emotion. But I think he was excited about it too! Grace just pointed and said, "baby." She had her baby doll. So there was "Mommy's baby" and "Sissy's baby." (We still call Grace, "Sissy")
Baby Mercy (Our Newest Blessing)
Again, I am amazed at this miracle of birth and the gift of life. I am so happy that God has entrusted us with this little girl. She is so beautiful. I believe that she will grow to become a powerful woman of God!
Thank you so much Lord for these blessings you have given us! Thank you for rewarding us with this little girl! Help us to train up our children in the way they should go. Help us to sharpen them into straight arrows that will be used effectively for Your kingdom!
I am now a full week past due! It looks like this baby will either be born 8 days late like James was or set a new record for the Rich family! The waiting has been really hard especially as uncomfortable as I have been the past several weeks. Daniel decided to take us all to Roanoke today to look at several houses, check up on a house he is having remodeled and eat dinner. We hoped that all the activity would cause labor to kick in but at least now I don't have to worry about having a baby on Friday the 13th! Ha! I know that there wouldn't have been anything to that but due to all the jokes it wouldn't have been the birthday I would have picked for precious little Mercy:-). I am thankful though that she is going to be born in the month of November because as of yet no one in our family has a November birthday and now there will be 6 months out of the year that someone in our household has a birthday!
Well, I am still pregnant! 6 days overdue and trying hard not to be frustrated with all the discomfort. Probably the hardest thing about being overdue is having the pain of being 9 months pregnant extended indefinitely and knowing that each day that passes also delays recovery yet another day. I so wanted to be healed up good by Thanksgiving but it does not look like that is going to happen since it usually takes me 2 weeks to get the worst of it over with and Thanksgiving is 2 weeks from today! I do however have SO MUCH to be thankful for this year and will look forward this special holiday regardless of whether or not we get to celebrate it the way we normally would. I cannot wait to have all 4 of my children with me and this will be our first holiday as a family of 6 with or without all the special trimmings! I decided tonight that it would be fun to help pass the time by letting the kids help me make pink birthday cupcakes to take to the hospital. They loved it! I think Sissy is going to be quite the cook one day. She handled the mixer excellently for a 2 year old girl:-). The boys favorite part was of course the eggs.
The finished product. Come on Mercy! We don't want your cupcakes to go bad before you get here!
Well, I am now 4 days overdue and we are still waiting for our little Mercy! It has been a tough few days waiting and feeling exhausted with not knowing when to expect her and afraid to go very far or do much! I have done all the laundry, cleaned the house, given all 3 of my men haircuts, cleaned the van and even packed the van! This morning we were all feeling frustrated and tired of waiting so Daniel decided to take us all to Amelia's for lunch and then bowling. It was our kids first time to go bowling and they loved it! It was a really fun family outing. They were so cute!Grace was able to do really well using this neat little rack they had for little bowlers. The boys used it until they saw Daddy bowl and then they insisted on bowling properly with their fingers in the correct holes. Daniel and I were very impressed that they were able to bowl that way as young as they are. They did use the gutter guards but both boys were able to bowl a few balls that didn't touch the gaurds:-)
They loved watching for their balls to come back up to them!
Here is Mercy's bed! We got it from a yard sale for $50.00! I found this bedding on ebay really cheap and chose it because I love toile fabrics. The rest of the nursery is not yet decorated. More pictures to come when it is finished!
Yes, I know the baby countdown box is now saying -1 day since my due date! That is because I am still pregnant! I am going to try to get my mind off of it though by writing a post about decorating! A little while ago I put a status update on facebook about having trouble decorating our living room. To be honest I am not at all a natural at decorating and have found it difficult to decorate my whole house! Sometimes I will go somewhere like Ross and think I have found the perfect thing but end up having to take it back because I bring it home and it looks awful! My taste is definitely farmhouse/antique decor but we live in a classic style house in a subdivision so I have tried my best to incorpotate the 2 looks into something that still goes with this house. I will post a few pics of what I have done to the living room so far. PLEASE give me any and all suggestions! We've done alot to our kitchen lately and as soon as it is completely done I will post pictures of it too!
I found this picture last year at a thrift store for $7.00! It looked horrible when I bought it but once I refinished the frame with a dark walnut stain I really liked it. It is very old and may look dingy to some people but I think it goes well in our living room. the basket was a gift from my recent baby shower and is used as my husbands place to come in and throw his wallet, cell phone, and keys ect. The LOVE frame was a recent find at Ross for $4.99. It was so perfect to put our first picture together at age 14 in! The beautiful piano was given to us by Nana and Pops. Someone left it in their storage buildings and never came to claim it. This antique desk I bought from my aunt Debbie when I was a teengaer. It is one of my favorite pieces of furniture! I have pictures of our family surrounding our monogram "R" hanging above it. I keep our wedding album displayed on top of it. In an effort to make our house better accomodate 6 people I got Daniel to put up alot more hooks by the front door! There is one up high for adults and one down low for our 4 kids:-). I am loving the way it is keeping out house so much less cluttered looking with everyones coats and bags not thrown everywhere. The beige colored ottomon to the right of the piano is where we keep diapers and wipes handy and out of sight! I know my rugs are too small for this room but we probably won't invest in bigger ones since large rugs can get really expensive and we do plan to sell this house in the next few years.I had one empty wall that looked really odd but didn't want to spend the money for a nice picture so I decided to put a verse here instead. This verse very much goes with our family!This is the wood stove Daniel recently bought to heat our house with this winter! I can't wait to sit by a real fire! The 2 walls on either side were empty looking so I bought blue willow plates for $3 each at TJ Maxx to hang on each side. Our kitchen is open to this room and these plates coordinate well with the kitchen decor. The rocking chair you see was at the Goodwill for just $25.00 A chair cushion from target was all it needed to add another comfy seat to the living room. I love the country look of rocking chairs! OK, I need advice! Are these chocolate valances enough or later on should I buy the panels that match them to put under the valances? And that corner to the left, is it too empty? Does it need a plant or something? This bookcase was in Daniels room when he was growing up and I have always loved it! The cabinets underneath hold all the kids puzzels and games while the top holds alot of our books as well as the willow tree collection and a favorite decor item of mine, kerosene lamps!
Ok, now that you have seen our living room I am ready to hear all of your idea's and suggestions!
I know it has been a month since I last posted. I am so sorry! To be honest my last month of pregnancy has been full of sleepless nights and just pure exhaustion with 3 other children to take care of! The house is clean and ready but the nursery is still not ready at all. We are hoping to
finish that up this week! It won't be fully decorated or have pictures hung until after she is born but we at least want to get the main things done like clean the carpet thoroughly, finish up the paint, and iron the new bedding and curtains before hanging them. I got a great deal on some crib bedding on ebay. It even came with the curtains, a diaper stacker, a toy bag, and a cute throw pillow to match. I didn't have to buy anything to go with it. It was a little nerve racking to bid on decor like that with only a picture to look at but I was very pleased when it came! I can't wait to post pictures of the nursery once it's all done. I don't think there is a whole lot that could be more fun for a woman than to decorate their little girls room or dress them up and put bows on them:-). Their room is of course PINK!
Here are some things that took place in the month of October. Enjoy!
I went to a baby shower for my good friend Kimmy Bears who is due the same time as me! This is her 5th baby and will make 5 boys for the Bears Family! We are delivering at the same hospital so hopefully we will be in there at the same time! I can't wait to meet baby Christopher!
We planned a family hike up to the Cascades and invited Nana and Pops to come along with us. It was beautiful! On October 10th we celebrated my precious husband's 26th Birthday! We had his grandfather, Charlotte and Nana over for dinner to celebrate. He chose everything on his menu and of course pecan pie for desert! It is hard for me to believe that he is 26 now. He is the most wise and mature 26 year old I have ever met and I am so proud of him! There aren't many 26 year olds out there that have the responsibilty of supporting a wife and 4 kids in the midst of getting a new business off the ground. I am so thankful for him and the love he has for his young family!
On October 11th some of my friends hosted a baby shower for Me at Katie Van Horns house. I have never seen such a big shower for a 4th baby. I was so grateful to everyone who came and blessed Mercy and I. My favorite part of the evening was when the guests took the time to pray for Mercy, myself and our family. Their prayers really ministered to me! Here is a photo of the girls who gave the shower.
I have some of the best friends a girl could have!and the greatest 2 Moms that a girl could have...Mrs. Rich & Mrs. Rich
Thankyou God! I know that it is ALL from You!
"Oh that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works. " Psalm 107:8
Can you tell I'm just a little excited about having 2 girls close in age? I bought these outfits for my girls while we were on vacation. It will be so much fun to see them all dressed up in them! I am planning to make them each a bow to match. We continue to stand amazed at what all God has done for us this year. When I had those 2 miscarriages last year I was so afraid that my desire for Grace to have a sister close in age just wasn't going to happen. Well, it is going to happen and this time it will be in Gods perfect timing! I feel so blessed...
Psalm 37:4-5 Delight yourself also in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord. Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.
So hard to believe it is that close. I have officially started nesting I think. This weekend Daniel worked on the girls room while I cleaned out and rearranged things in our bedroom. I always tend to do that in late pregnancy! I clean out, organize, and rearrange. So funny how I always get the urge to do that when I am close to giving birth. I actually felt really energized after church today and wanted to go hiking. We did a short hike on the Dragons tooth trail in Salem. The boys did really well and wanted to go farther. Sissy rode on Daddy's back in a backpack and seemed to really enjoy herself as well.
WElCOME TAYLOR ANNE BAILEY! 8lbs. 2 1/2 oz. 21 inches long
Wow, God answered our prayers! Lauren was 5 days overdue and scheduled to be induced this Tuesday if Taylor didn't come. Daniel and I were suppose to go home to VA on Sunday but since Lauren really wanted me here for the birth we decided to stay one more day and pray that Taylor would come naturally before we had to leave. The whole family had lunch together on Sunday and nothing appeared to be happening. A little later Lauren took a little bit of castor oil and then Lauren, Paola, Grandma, and myself decided to go to the mall and walk to see if that would help any. She did begin having some mild contractions during the afternoon but we still weren't sure if it was the real thing. We came home and walked some more and Lauren continued having mild contractions. Lauren and Michael headed home a little later and left Joseph here so they could get prepared to head to the hospital. They got there about 9:30pm and called for me to go ahead and drive up there. All the men stayed home with the kids while I drove mom and I to the hospital. She was already dilated 5-6 centimeneters by the time we arrived. Things moved very quickly and Taylor was born at 11:03pm. It was a beautiful birth! Lauren did it completely natural and did such a great job. It was my first time to ever see a baby be born. I am always the one in labor and can't enjoy it or observe anything! It was so special. I am so thankful God worked it out for me to be there for it. As you can see Taylor is a beautiful baby with fuzzy blond hair.
A very proud Uncle Daniel and Aunt Lindsay!
We are so happy for Michael and Lauren!
Aunt Paola and Aunt Lindsay visiting Taylor this morning! Friday Night. Paola and Grandma both got pictures sandwiched between the 2 pregnant women. These were our last photo's pregnant together.
Grandpa did a great job entertaining my kids while Daniel was gone so I could stay with Lauren. I can't believe he already has them shooting bows and arrows! Their pretty good!
I know I have not faithfully published a recipe every month on here like I intended but here is one for September! Several people on Facebook saw a status update about me making protein bars and wanted the recipe. I actually got the recipe I use from my sister, Lauren Bailey. She got the recipe from a co-worker several years ago when she worked in a beauty salon.
2 c. chocolate whey protein powder
1 jar natural crunchy peanut butter
2 c. old fashioned oats
2 c. honey (I sometimes use less)
Melt peanut butter and honey together in microwave for 1 minute. Stir well and then add in the oats and protein. Mix thoroughly and press into a glass 9 x 13- inch dish. Cover and chill in refrigerator for several hours and then cut into bars. Keep stored in refrigerator with lid on. These will keep a long time.
I already posted some pics of James' 4th birthday party but here is his birthday dinner on his actual birthday with just our family.
Daddy with the birthday boy
Bubby loves anything made with oreo's so I decided to make him a "Dirt Cake". As I figured...He LOVED it!
The Rich Family Reunion in Emory VA.
The oldest set of Rich brothers! PawPaw and Uncle Neel. Our boys, Isaac and James are the youngest set of Rich Brothers.
Nana left to right: Cousin Kathy, Daniel, myself, Uncle Macon and Aunt Teresa. Sissy ate a ridiculous amount of watermelon:-)
In Early August we decided to spend a day out in the country. We started off with a picnic on the Appalachian Trail in Craig County and then went Blueberry picking at a Farm close to the trail. It was a really fun day! We picked lots of Blueberries to take home and freeze since we love eating them in our Pancakes. The kids really enjoyed this day. We let them take their Easter buckets to put their Blueberries in.
This pond was right next to the Blueberry Bush's. I just love this picture of our children!