Monday, April 30, 2012

Tomorrow is the day...

Please be praying for us. Our ultrasound is at 10:15am tomorrow morning and will be evaluated by a 2nd Doctor. It will be good to have another opinion and we can hardly wait! Many of you have asked how we are feeling about the ultrasound. Our hope is that they will find two healthy babies in there! If not, we trust God and know that His plans are to prosper us. I guess a part of us would love to have two because my pregnancies are so horrific. I will explain. Unlike most women, I can't just get pregnant and go on with my life. All of my pregnancies are pure torture and debilitating for a couple months! Each time I think, this time will be different, I will continue to function in spite of how I feel. The extreme nausea and vomiting just knocks me flat on my back each time. I am normally a very active person but there were times after vomiting several times in a row that I didn't know if I would have the strength to walk from the bed to the toilet one more time. Sometimes, I just had to lay in the floor right outside the bathroom door. The nausea was so strong on many days that I couldn't enjoy a book or watching anything on tv while laying in bed. Those couple months seem like forever when you are in that kind of shape. Sometimes, I would get depressed and just cry until I couldn't anymore, pleading with God to heal me and enable me to function and enjoy life. I couldn't even remember what it had been like to eat a meal and it actually taste good with no fear of it coming back up. I have not once been able to eat my favorite food, ice cream! Our bedroom is located directly next to our staircase and it was difficult to rest during the day because it sounded like a war going on right outside my door with 4 kids pounding up and down the stairs. That being the only way for them to get upstairs made it an impossible problem to fix. That said, I have been through this so many times that it is hard for me to be as happy as I should be when I find out I am pregnant. As much as I want the baby and a big family, I have a hard time processing the news knowing what I am about to go through. How awesome it would be for us to get two children out of one pregnancy! I will say that I am starting to get better, I have now gone 3 days with no vomiting!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

What I was doing in 1986:-)

Daniel and I found this picture the other day of me with all my babies in my bed in 1986. It cracked us up! I was 3 years old so this was 25 years ago! I'm so thankful that God gave me direction for my life at such a young age and that I always knew what I wanted to do and never had to walk around wondering what God wanted me to do with my life:-). By the way Grace informed us in the car on the way to the Indian restaurant today that she intends to have 8 children. Imagine the grandchildren we will have! We hope to do lots of babysitting!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Q & A Post

I have been getting lots of questions lately so I thought I would try to answer some of them!

1. How am I feeling? ~ I am still feeling horrible. I rarely get out of bed during the day but am up most evenings. There have been a few days that I have been up to outings but only because I will go stir crazy if I stay in the house too long. No matter where I am or what I am doing, I am constantly nauseated and feel totally wiped out. I am still struggling with vomiting, mainly during the nights.

2. Do twins run in your family? ~ Neither Daniel or myself have a mother or grandmother than has given birth to twins. However both my Mom and Dad each have a first cousin with twins that I really never knew. It was a huge surprise to find out we had conceived twins.

3. What doctor are you seeing? ~ I am seeing Dr. Roberts and his team at Carilion NRV Hospital and have been very pleased with them.

4. How much longer will Rachel be there? ~ She will be here for another 2 weeks. I am praying to be well and able to function and care for our kids by then!

5. How far along are you? I will be exactly 11 weeks this Sunday. My first trimesters always seem SO LONG due to the sickness and the fact that I can't hide a pregnancy from anyone beyond week 6 because of how sick I get.

6. What are you able to eat? ~ Only very bland comfort foods, macaroni and cheese (homemade), plain chicken,mashed potatoes, occasionally a grass fed grilled burger, dry biscuits or muffins with no butter. I cannot handle salads and most other foods or drink a glass of plain water due to the severe nausea.

7. Does severe pregnancy sickness run in your family? No, my mother and sister both had picture perfect pregnancies.

8. Have you gotten severely ill with all your pregnancies? Yes, other than the two I miscarried.

9. Why have you continued to have children knowing you will get so sick? Daniel and I decided before we were married that we wanted a big family. We believe that each child is a gift from God and worth all the torture my body has had to go through!

10. What have you tried thus far to alleviate your nausea? Just about everything! Zofran, Phenergan, sea bands, herbal remedies, ginger, saltines, protein, lemons, sour candy and everything else anyone has ever suggested to me that might help. The drugs Zofran and Phenergan seem to help the most but none of these things have taken away the nausea and enabled me to function.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Standing on the Promises

I still clearly remember my grandmother, MaMa Willis banging out this song on her out of tune upright piano (holding the pedal down the entire time:-). She would often sing along in preparation to play the piano at their little country church the next morning. The little church often lacked a pianist and she was always willing to offer her rusty piano skills when the need arose. Being a piano student myself, I couldn't help but smile. If only I had taken the time to really process the lyrics then, they are powerful! Thankfully, I still remember most of them. I doubt my siblings and I could ever forget this song anyway:-). I have thought about these lyrics a lot today.

Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
Through eternal ages let His praises ring,
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
  Standing on the promises of God. 

    Standing, standing,
    Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
    Standing, standing,
      I'm standing on the promises of God. 

Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
  Standing on the promises of God. 

Standing on the promises I now can see
Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;
Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free,
  Standing on the promises of God. 

Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
Bound to Him eternally by love's strong cord,
Overcoming daily with the Spirit's sword,
  Standing on the promises of God. 

Standing on the promises I shall not fall,
List'ning every moment to the Spirit's call.
Resting in my Savior as my All in all,
  Standing on the promises of God.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Update on the Twins

My Doctors office just called a little while ago and said they shared our bizarre twin ultrasound with another doctor and that they have invited that doctor to come and view a second ultrasound in two weeks. Daniel and I will go back on May 1st. I am very happy that the wait is only going to be 2 weeks instead of 4. Hopefully, they will be able to tell us something. Hoping and praying for good news!

Philippians 4:6
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pregnancy update ~ Twins?

Please keep us in your prayers. My appointment did not go at all the way we expected. We found out that I either was or are still pregnant with fraternal twins. One baby showed up big and healthy measuring 10 weeks and 3 days on the ultrasound screen and the other appeared as just a yolk sac measuring 6 wks attached by a cord to my uterus. We go back in 4 weeks and either it will have developed into a healthy baby or remain as an undeveloped sac. They got a heartbeat on it but either way, it is well behind the other twin in development and may make for a complicated pregnancy if he/she lives. Please pray for us as we have to wait in limbo for 4 weeks to know whether twin B has survived or not.  Either way we praise God for a healthy twin A! Pray for twin B, that he/she would be healthy, that the waiting will be short and that God will give us the grace to hear whatever news we receive. Naturally, we are praying for both twins to be healthy and thriving! We go back on May 17th, at 1:30pm.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Weekend with Grandma and Grandpa

We had a wonderful weekend with grandma and grandpa this weekend. Whew! Enjoying a weekend without the weight of the P.E. exam hanging over us was beyond wonderful! They arrived Friday afternoon and brought each of the kids an entire new summer wardrobe complete with 2 or more pairs of new shoes for each of them. Our living room looked like a children's clothing and shoe store, the kids were so excited, especially Isaac! Rachel made the most wonderful breaded chicken dinner out of homemade bread crumbs. Saturday we all got up early and headed to Radford University to watch Isaac and James swim there for the first time. Both of them had a fantastic meet. Isaac took 1st place in 100m IM, 50m Free and 50m backstroke. James took 1st place in 25m backstroke and was not far behind Isaac in every other race. We were amazed at how much they had improved since the Fall! They were so excited with how they did. Radford University had a very nice pool and we enjoyed watching them compete there. After the swim meet, we headed to go get some food and then to Bisset Park. It was such a nice day to be out! There was a Native American festival going on in the park so we got to watch some of that. Saturday evening, Daniel did a cookout for us and we enjoyed grassfed burgers along with Rachels delicious dessert bars. After dinner, Daniel, Grandpa and all the older kids (including Rachel) cleared a spot behind the house to put the new wooden swing set that the kids getting. We found someone selling a used one and they are so excited about getting it! We stayed up late talking and then on Sunday, Daniel, Grandpa and the boys headed back to Radford for the rest of the swim meet. They made it back in time to enjoy Rachel's homemade strawberry shortcake (made from fresh picked GA strawberries!) before heading to the 11am service at church. I stayed home to rest this morning but they all came back to pick me up before heading to cracker barrel where grandma and grandpa treated us all to a good lunch. We wish the visit could have been longer but hopefully we will get to spend lots of time with them this summer. They are going to have the kids visit for a whole week in early August and we will go to pick them up! 

James and Isaac on the pool deck

Rachel, Grandma and Mercy

Grandpa and the girls

sweet Mercy with grandpa

beautiful Grace wearing grandpa's hat

Isaac in lane 5 (sticking his black hiney out:-)
, James in lane 6 (right) getting ready for their 50m backstroke

Our big boy Isaac

Isaac looking all muscled up:-)

James is the cutest 6 year old swimmer:-) 

James again

Native American Festival

Playing by the River

We love the New River! Such a clean, beautiful River!

Mercy getting showered by kisses

Daniel and Grandpa being silly

couples photo

Our fam with grandma and grandpa

with grandpa and grandma inside their favorite tree!

beautiful Rachel

more time on the river!

Daddy and Mercy

Grace, age 5 and so proud of her new butterfly outfit!

Clearing where our new swing set is going,
I love Daniels face in this pic!

Grandma and Mercy watching the action

Little Mercy wearing a new dress and shoes
from Grandma and Grandpa

James, age 6

Isaac, age almost 8! 

Mommy and Mercy

Us,  can you tell we are in love? :-)

I love this photo!

James, Mercy and Rachel (Grace went to a birthday party
right after church with her friends). 

The P.E. exam is OVER!

Daniel took the P.E. exam on Friday! I must say it could not have started off any worse. I was up most of the night throwing up in our master bath the night before the exam. I usually never have a spell in the middle of the night like that and it couldn't have happened at a worse time! All I could think about was how I was keeping Daniel awake even with the door shut and how upset I was that I was causing him to lose so much sleep right before the 8 hr exam that meant so much to us. He finally made it to Wytheville Friday morning to take the exam and the room had been changed causing him to run all over the  college campus looking for the correct room.
In all of his running around, his carefully organized binders full of notes and formula's popped open causing his papers to scatter everywhere. I thought of him all morning and prayed for him. He was able to get himself together without freaking out too bad and thinks he did well enough to pass! We shall see in the next 6-8 weeks! I cannot tell you how much of a burden this has lifted off of us! Since February he has had to study in all of his spare time and we never even got to spend an evening together after the kids went to bed. I have to say, playing the part of single mom, my babysitting job, homeschooling and Daniel having to study all the time threw me for a loop. Our house was a complete wreck while I just managed to get school done, laundry done, babysit and keep and meals cooked! It was so much easier when he was in graduate school and we only had 2 kids that weren't old enough to homeschool! What a relief it was after I got pregnant for Rachel to come! Not only for her help but also for her company. Sometimes, God is just too good. A lifelong friendship has been established and I will be forever grateful for this 6 weeks with her! Praise God the P.E. is over! I want to thank everyone for praying for us so faithfully during this difficult time and Nana and Pops for coming twice while Daniel was out of town to help me in the house! Now if only we could know the results...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tomorrow is the BIG DAY!

Daniel is finally going to take the P.E. exam early tomorrow morning. If only you could see what he has been through since getting approved in February to prepare for it! We have basically had no time together as a couple since. It has been a huge sacrifice for both of us. Our 9th anniversary is around the corner and we are going to spend some time together! Daniel really deserves a trip after going through this but we aren't going anywhere this year due to financial reasons. We are going to pretend that we are out of town though and spend 2 full days (3 nights) together and make it a very special time:-). I will be 16 weeks and should be completely well by then. We can hardly wait! I am going to pack us a good picnic and we are going to rent a canoe for one of the days and then hike Dragons tooth on the other day. Please be praying for Daniel that the exam would go well and that he will pass. He has not been feeling well so also pray that he would feel good and be able to think clearly tomorrow. Passing this exam will open up many job possibilities for him and should also end our financial struggles within the next few years! We have so much to look forward to. All of the kids are growing up so fast. Isaac is getting ready to turn 8 and will soon be old enough to babysit, according to Rachel, that alone will drastically change our lives! We are so excited about welcoming a 5th child into our family and God is continually taking care of us and every little detail that matters to us. Thank You Lord! If you could also pray for me as well. After having a phenomenal weekend, I have been in bed very sick all week. Today it has been exactly 4 weeks since I got sick. Its been rough, I hate laying in bed waiting to throw up but I know I can do this for our child through Christ who gives me strength! We will see baby Rich for the first time on Tuesday! So excited!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Grace turns 5!

Our beautiful Grace turned 5 on May 30th, 2012. We never have to wonder Grace is thinking or what Grace wants. She has brought up two things repeatedly over the last year. Wanting a butterfly birthday and ballet lessons. She got both! I was able to find a ballet class at the recreation center that only cost $20 for a 6 week session. I had planned a butterfly birthday party to invite all her relatives to before I knew I was pregnant but as soon as I got sick I knew I wasn't up for a house full of people so I had to cancel it. Her grandparents still came though and Rachel made her the cutest butterfly cake. Daniel and Rachel planned a great meal of grilled burgers and I was actually able to eat a little bit with everyone that evening in spite of not feeling well at all. 

Isn't she the cutest ballerina?

I love this girl so much!

Rachel and Grace put lots of time into this butterfly cake and even made
2nd trip to the store!

You are now 5 years old! Has it really been 5 years since that night our first princess was born at home in Williamsburg? You have come a long way this year! I love watching you play. You play dollhouse, kitchen and dolls a lot. You also love to dress up and you spend a ton of time coloring and making things. Your projects often get messy but I love them in spite of the mess. You love to help me in my kitchen and I love every minute of it even though you are one of the messiest cooks I have ever seen:-). You always want to crack the eggs and I let you even though the egg doesn't always land where it should. You seem like you were just born with Mommy/Homemaking skills and it is so fun to watch. Your great-grandmother MaMa Willis would be so proud! You love picking me flowers and sometimes there are up to 3 messy jars full of just weeds on my counter but you think they are beautiful and so do I. You love attending Cedarwood Pre-school and Daddy and I just marvel at your incredible social skills. You are so friendly and you talk to EVERYONE. It is hard on you when someone snaps at you. It is hard on you when you think someone doesn't like you because like me, you assume that everyone does and most of the time they do! You are a giver and can often be found trying to give some of your toys to your brothers when they are playing with you. I want you to know that I am so pleased with you and that I love being your Mommy. It is a privilege and a joy to watch you grow up. I am thankful that I get to stay home and spend everyday with you. You will always be my princess and I love you with all my heart! Love, Mommy

Monday, April 09, 2012

Happy Resurrection Day!

Mercy holding back the forces!

Daniel wanted to do away with new clothes, easter baskets,
eggs and candy for Easter this year and focus
on the true reason to celebrate. I was disappointed
about the egg dying part but I am thankful to have
a husband who finds audio books to listen to
on his own and studies about the decisions
he wants to make for our family without me
encouraging him to do so. He made these
wooden crosses for the kids to paint and hide
instead. I think the kids enjoyed this more!

I was able to help the kids make resurrection rolls for our
 special dinner. We used a marshmallow to
represent Jesus's body, butter and cinnamon to anoint
Jesus' body. We wrapped Jesus body in cresent roll
dough to represent the tomb. It made such a great opportunity
to tell the kids the Easter story as we made them!

As the rolls bake, the marshmallow, butter and spices melt
into the rolls and you are left with a empty, hollow
tomb to signify that Jesus is no longer there
but has risen! The empty tombs were so tasty!

Our Special Dinner, Yummy steak (bought in bulk for
$3.50 per/lb!). Rachel, Grace and I made MawMaw's
famous sweet potato casserole, The kids
made the rolls, Rachel did the csar salad
and Daniel marinated and grilled the steaks
to perfection,  They were
the best steaks ever! 

A table full of smiles! The kids wanted to set an extra
place for Jesus:-). I love how our family is starting to really fill
up a table!

Daddy hiding crosses

Grace hunting crosses

Daddy was REALLY into this cross hunting game:-)

The kids with our sweet Rachel

We celebrated Dave Ramsey style,  everyone wore old clothes :-)
Worked out great since Daniel no longer wanted to do new clothes
 at Easter anyway!  :-)

*Please be in prayer for the Smith Family. Some of you may remember my friend Noel who was a bridesmaid in our wedding. Her parents have 7 biological children, have adopted 2 from Ghana and are in the process of adopting their 10th child also from the same orphanage in Ghana! You can read their incredible story HERE!