Wow! It’s been a wild ride over the last few months. We’ve had some big changes, and some deep and memorable experiences. We certainly do have a lot to be thankful for as we approach this wonderful holiday season.
September started off with some very sad news. Derek’s older brother, David, passed away from a heart attack at the young age of 40. After finding out, we quickly packed up the van and drove up to Michigan to be with family and help with the funeral and other arrangements. We spent almost a week there, and though we wish it were under different circumstances, we were so grateful to be with all of Derek’s 11 other siblings. Since they are serving as missionaries in India, his parents weren’t able to come, but we communicated with them via Skype throughout the week. Derek’s sisters did a wonderful job with all the arrangements and the funeral was touching and beautiful. I have never been so grateful for the insane amount of photos taken from our family get-togethers. It was comforting to browse through the photos of David from all our reunions, etc. He was a wonderful, loving, funny, and caring person and we miss him so much.
We came home to lots of laundry, housework, and school work to make up. A week later we promptly picked up the flu (possibly of the porcine strain) which went through all of us except Mom. When the last flu victim was almost better our darling Faith decided to join the family (2 weeks early), and we are so grateful she got here safely and is healthy and beautiful. Faith arrived at the perfect time (a Sunday afternoon after Derek got home from church meetings), and we had a newly married couple from church stay with the kids. Derek took a week off of work and he and the kids have been so wonderful about keeping up with the housework, meals, and the school schedule while I’ve recovered.
Over the last month we’ve managed to get out a few times. We ventured to the dollar theater to see the latest Harry Potter flick and the Disney G-Force movie. We also hit a local nursery to get pumpkins for Halloween, attended a trunk-or-treat at church, and took the kids out trick-or-treating. We had 3 ninjas, a witch, and a zebra.
1. Attended the Computers in Cardiology conference at the U of U in Utah. Visited with a few U of U faculty and his family.
2. Has been in Super Dad mode getting “the bigs” ready in the mornings and driving them to 3 different schools before work. He also took on meals and laundry for a couple weeks after Faith was born. Boy do I love that man!
3. Has submitted some articles, written a few reviews, and a book chapter. He’s contemplating writing a few more grants soon.
4. Was asked to be a guest editor for a journal.
1. Faith and I seem to be getting into a better night time routine (though I probably just jinxed it by saying this). The last few nights she’s only eaten once.. Yay!
2. I finally feel like myself again, and nursing is going much faster so I can actually get something done in between feedings.
3. I love being home with this sweet little one and am so grateful she’s part of our family!
4. Here are a few of my latest reads (since I’m sitting on my pockets nursing so much of the day):
The Teeth of the Tiger by Tom Clancy (language alert)
Bush at War by Bob Woodward (very interesting)
1. Still enjoys playing the French horn and practices without me reminding him, but has run into some frustrations. He’s sticking with it though, working hard, and doing well.
2. Was asked to be in charge of the meals for an 11 year old scout campout last weekend and did a great job. He and Jeffrey have almost earned their 1st class rank and enjoy working on scouting activities with Derek.
3. Had a tough time catching up on school work between our trip to MI and being out with the flu, but is improving in the organization and responsibility department.
4. Got “A” honor roll on his report card, which says a lot with some of the tough classes he’s got in middle school. All the honor roll students got to attend an after school BBQ.
5. Made a Halloween treasure hunt for the other 3 older kids and the treasure was 5 pieces of candy of their choice from his stash. Sweet boy!
1. Loves playing the trumpet and is doing well in band.
2. Enjoyed an ice hockey game (Alabama v. Emory) with Derek, James, and 2 school buddies.
3. Did great bearing his testimony for his last primary program at church (as did James).
4. Has been super responsible in all of his classes and earned “A” honor roll as well. We’re so proud of him, especially with his ADHD which makes it hard to keep track of things sometimes.
5. With this new more rigorous middle school schedule he’s been somewhat more on edge and cranky, but hopefully he’ll adjust soon.
1. Really enjoys Valley Voices school choir and is very cheerful about the 7 am rehearsals on Fridays. (I’m glad she does since I made her join.)
2. Had a fun time at a Halloween party hosted by a friend from church.
3. Did a great job on her solo for the talent show at church.
4. Got all A’s on her report card, though she sometimes struggles with math.
5. Loves to hold baby Faith and say, “Awwww, she’s so CUTE!” in the highest pitched voice possible. She and Lexie also love to help me give her baths.
1. Celebrated her 7th birthday with a few friends from church at Chuck E Cheese’s.
2. Lost 2 more teeth, and grew in her 2 front top teeth.
3. Did great on her report card, and loved her class field trip to the pumpkin patch. Just found out her teacher is expecting and due in May!
4. Dressed up as a newborn nurse for career day at school.
5. Also loves to hold baby Faith and say, “Awwww, she’s so CUTE!” in the highest pitched voice possible. (Can be a bit over-enthusiastic about the baby at times.)
1. Looks very different from our other kids with her abundant dark hair and small eyes. Was jaundiced like all our babies, and is still a bit yellow.
2. Was so sleepy during feedings the first 2 weeks that her growth rate was a bit slow, and it took an hour sometimes to feed her. She’s doing much better now.
3. Takes several naps and grunts a lot in her sleep.
4. Possible nicknames (though we’re still up in the air on this): Fay-Fay, Faithy, Faith-ity-doo-dah, Faithy waithy, Child.
5. Loves head and foot massages, riding in the car (or stroller or grocery cart), and being held. We love her!