Month: May 2012

  • Olivia is Three!

    Somehow Olivia and exclamation points go very well together.
    Her personality is so wide open and energetic I feel that I should end every sentence describing her in exclamations. :)

    But almost two weeks ago my little girl turned THREE!
    I find it hard to believe. She’s just a little girl, and how can one grow so fast?
    I wanted her to stay two forever.
    Yes, it has been our most challenging age with her, but oh goodness,
    THE most wonderful stage so far too.
    How one little person can be so completely exasperating and so completely adorable at the same time is beyond me.

    She doesn’t need much sleep. Even as an infant, she’d hardly sleep.
    She fights bedtime, and tries to find multiple excuses to put it off.
    On the 5th time out of bed, when we’re fit to be tied, she’ll say, “Oh, I fuh-got to give you a HUG!!”
    and how can a parent resist a kiss on each cheek and a tight little squeeze about the neck?
    For all her energy, she sure is a snuggler and a cuddler. I love it.

    // birth site, in a car  //


    She’s the one that gives us near panic-attacks as we see her carrying two-week old Hudson from one end of the house to the other,
    all across hardwoods, holding him around the neck so tightly he probably didn’t breathe the entire time.
    This is not allowed. But she’s “sooo bigger!” since the baby’s born, she thinks.

    She has a lisp that I hope she doesn’t outgrow for a long time.
    “I want to go to da pa-wick [park] an’ fwing on da fwings.”
    “Him weft him toys he-ah!”
    “Him wike him daddy.”
    “Wook! I have two ones!” [look, i have two ones; meaning, i have two]
    “Can you help me, Mom? I can’t hawd-wy do dis.”
    “Mom, the baby cwying! Him ‘CREAMIN’!”
    to the baby: ‘Hi, fweet-ha-weet!”

    She says things like “dand-aid” for bandaid
    and “bi-puh” for diaper
    and other little words that now the whole family says.
    I told Ben the other day that by the time our kids leave home
    WE – not the kids – will have no proper grammer left!
    And he said with a grin, “Dat okay.” :)

    // two weeks //



    // one year //

    Olivia - age 1 edited 3

    // two years //

    Claudia's pics, July 2010 154

    Ellerslie, Colorado 075

    Of Birthdays and Cake Pops 056Ohio Vacation! 064

    [this picture by c. smucker photography]

    From Olivia’s sommersaults in the womb just days before birth
    to her 50 hours of labor
    to her carbirth
    to her first birthday being spent at the doctor and hospital lab
    to her fiesty spunk in standing up to perfectionist older sister
    to her wild imagination [i.e. making mommies and daddies from her fork and spoon]
    to her infectious giggle
    to her gorgeous dimples
    to her long blonde hair…

    She has been a small form of the energizer bunny.
    She’s brought sunshine and laughter in wonderful degrees.
    She’s brought us to our knees in prayer countless times.
    ["I not wike angels!" after being told they watch over her at night so she won't have to be afraid.]
    She melts me in a puddle.
    She’s come from her bedroom before, saying, “I was pwaying to Jesus, Mommy.”
    She is a gift from the heart of God, and I am so humbled by His entrusting us with her.

    She is a witty one.
    When I was combing her tangly hair one morning:
    “Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Oh, Lord Jesus, COME!”

    When at breakfast one morning, Ben handed her a biscotti,
    she burst into song, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul!”

    Witty little comments come out of her tiny little mouth all the time.
    Her mother wishes she would’ve been given that gift as well. :)

    She is Little Drama Girl.
    If I forgot to give her vitamins in the morning, she’ll come to me later with a dramatic GASP, huge eyes,
    and in a tone of voice that says the sky is falling says, “You begot to give me VI-MINS!”
    Gasps and “sky-is-falling” voice is every-day common.
    I wonder how much time I spend laughing at her each day.

    // birthday girl at church this year //

    hudson. olivia at 3 125

    hudson. olivia at 3 137 

    Dear Sweet Girl, may you continue to be a messenger of peace and joy, as your name means.
    And may you fulfill all of God’s plans for you.
    And most of all, may you learn to love the Lord Jesus with all your heart…
    We love you with all of ours…

    My in-laws were so sweet on Olivia’s birthday.
    Our little family has had the tradition of doing something special together on birthday day, rather than big parties.
    But since Hudson was only two weeks old, and I wasn’t quite up to a day away,
    my mother-in-law and sister-in-law offered to help me out.
    Sonya made a darling little cake,
    the party was at Mama Yoder’s house with cousins,
    and I picked up a few little party supplies.

    hudson. olivia at 3 157

    THREE! She practiced long and hard before the birthday to be able to do this.

    hudson. olivia at 3 164

    We call her our little monkey, so hence the monkey blow things. :)

    hudson. olivia at 3 143 hudson. olivia at 3 167

    hudson. olivia at 3 181

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    Happy birthday, Lovies!

    A Day Off 016




  • The Sweetness that is Baby Hudson.



    It’s been a happy blur the past 10 days.
    A happy, sleepless blur, might I add. :)

    Thank you so much for all the congratulations and happy wishes!
    It really is so humbling to have so many people so excited with us!

    Today is the first day I’m on my own.
    My dear mother came when Hudson was 4 days old and stayed until this morning.
    I have no idea what I would have done without her.
    She ran the household, took care of the girls, and basically did everything but feed the baby so I could sleep during the day.
    She was amazing.
    My father came for two days, my sister surprised me for two days,
    and another sister who now lives in Georgia came for two days!

    And today, I’m back to being full-time mommy.
    To THREE children.
    The number really sounds bigger than it feels.
    It’s still just Zoe’ and Olivia, plus a baby.
    A sweet,   precious, darling, kissable, handsome little boy.
    We are smitten!

    So while Olivia and Hudson are both down for naps, I’ll try to type as fast as I can…

    Hudson smiled at me for the first time on Monday, at 8 days old.
    I was the first one he smiled at.
    I melted.
    I told Ben right away,
    “Your son smiled at me…..” and he knew I was in love. :)

    This newborn baby stage… oh goodness, how I love it.
    Yes, he eats every two hours day and night, and I’ve slept so much during the day to make up for it.
    Yes, I’m going to be tired.
    But no, I don’t mind getting up with him.
    I couldn’t do this for the rest of my life, but for a season? Yes.
    And oh goodness, who knew one would have to use such self-protection
    while doing something as simple as changing a diaper? Wow. I’ve learned fast.
    It really is a privilege to care for this precious little treasure.
    He came straight from heaven, I just know it.

    I forgot how much I adore my little newborn babies.
    I like other people’s babies, but I’m not one that has to hold them for hours after church.
    But with mine? Well, I’m head-over-heels.
    By the time Hudson was 3 days old I had a kink in my neck from looking down at him in my arms so often. :)
    Now that mom is gone I won’t be able to just sit around holding him, while everyone else does my work!
    I think mom spoiled me. :)

    I’ve been reading in the epistles the past few weeks, and read just the other morning about younger women,
    how God wants them to “love their husbands, and love their children…” among other things.
    And even though I know it’ll take some time for me to find a new sort of normal for us again,
    I was so encouraged by the thought that this is God’s plan for me.
    Simple as that – to love my husband, and to love my children.
    And if that is God’s plan, then He will equip and strengthen me each day, each moment.

    With all the bustling around preparing for Hudson’s arrival, I now have no choice but to sloooooooow down.
    Slow way down.
    And even if I get nothing done in a day for the first little while except making sure no one goes hungry, that’s okay.

    I read a quote by Teresa of Avila yesterday, that will be referred back to often in these next few weeks:

    God is not so much concerned
    with the
    greatness of one’s work
    as the
    love with which it is done.”

    That is my challenge in these weeks of recovery, of finding a new routine, of Hudson joining us.
    To do it all in love, to remain restful and strengthened by God. 

    But a little BOY!
    I think we are still is disbelief that we have a little BOY in our family. :)
    Even though we were thinking boy, to have it be reality is so amazing!

    Ben is already planning a move out to the country. No more city life, he says.
    A boy needs a creek, and woods, and wide open places to play ball.
    Goodness, I had hoped to stay here for a decade, at least. :)
    He’s only half-joking…

    Me? Apart from being madly in love with this little man,
    (whoever knew you could be madly in love with two men?)
    I find myself quite in a quandary about what to even call him, as someone commented in the last post!
    I always called my girls such sweet names, but rather girl-ish names.
    And now, calling him “Hudson” sounds far too grown-up.
    Zoe’ is still “Sweetie” most of the time.
    Olivia is still “Lovies” and even refers to herself as that.
    So what names for the little man?
    Little Man? That’s what we’ve been calling him.
    Mothers with boys – any suggestions?!
    My husband is quite adamant that we do not make him a pansy. :)

    Okay, Little Man is starting to wake… and I hear a bedroom door open of the other napper.
    Oops, off to change bedding and clothing of Lovies. She must have slept harder than usual.
    This will obvious be a post written in segments. :)

    A Bit of Talk about Labor. :)

    // Day 11 overdue, on a walk to bring on labor!
    the nurse commented, surprised, that i was rather dressed up.
    i didn’t think i was, but i also don’t like a frumpy t-shirt look either.
    i responded that when you’re THIS overdue, you must keep moral high :)
    plus, i was expecting a hot date after my appointment. //

    Benjamin Hudson 011

    i was larger this pregnancy than with the other two.
    by the end i had about 5 shirts that still fit okay. :)

    Benjamin Hudson 013

    My labor was something I was honestly dreading.
    I’ve had difficult labors.
    My first one was 16 hours of contractions 5 minutes apart and closer.
    My second was 50 hours, 5 minutes apart and closer.
    It took me what seemed like forever to dilate, and with great pain.
    I didn’t know what to expect this time, but I prayed often.
    “God, be bigger than my fears. BE BIGGER.”

    And this labor? Honestly, it felt like a miracle labor.
    I never, ever dreamt it could be as it was.

    The Story, for those of you that care about labor & delivery. :)

    On Day 11 Overdue I had a midwife appointment.
    Because of being so late, I had to go every 2 days for a non-stress test and just make sure all was well.
    They had told me to pack my bags and take them each time in case I’d have to stay,
    and I almost didn’t. There were no signs of labor at all. None.

    I had started answering my phone,
    “Nope. No baby. No labor. No contractions.” :)
    to my family’s frequent calls wondering WHEN Baby would ever come.

    But I packed my bags and Ben went with me to Savannah, just in case I’d need to stay.
    The testing went well, Baby was doing great, I had a few contractions – but I’ve had mild ones for weeks.
    After the checkup, the midwife asked if I’d want to try some things to try to bring on labor.

    Of course, I said, “No, let’s just wait a few days and see what happens.”
    By Day 11, are you even joking, I was wildly rejoicing even at the thought of labor.
    But because I had no signs of labor, I really didn’t expect anything to happen.
    But worth trying? Sure, might as well.

    So, at 3pm, already dilated to 3cm on my own
    (who wouldn’t with a baby’s head parked way low at 42 weeks?)
    I was started with a few natural inductions things, homeopathic tablets and walking among them.

    The contractions started up with what I was given and doing,
    and I was organizing pictures on our laptop,
    walking a beautiful sidewalk trail with Ben,
    and generally feeling quite well.
    I could definitely feel the contractions, and had to breathe through them,
    but they didn’t hurt.
    It’s a bit hard to explain, because I could tell they were getting harder,
    but the pain didn’t accompany it.

    I kept telling the midwife,
    I don’t think this is the real thing, it’s not painful!!”
    and I fully expected the contractions to stop anytime.
    Husband and I felt like we were on a date as we were walking!
    It was CRAZY!
    Of course, the date was interrupted by contractions every 2 minutes, but still…

    At that point, even if labor had stopped, I was not permitted to leave Savannah.
    The midwives didn’t want a car-birth repeat.
    So we kept doing some natural things, to keep labor going if possible.

    By 9pm, after walking an hour and a half, we returned to the birth center.
    I was dilated to 7cm.
    And I was in disbelief.
    I kept protesting to the midwife, “This is going to stop! I don’t think it’s real!”
    And she would just laugh at me, saying no one has ever complained about labor being good!

    Soon after 9pm, my water broke, and the contractions picked up to a whole new level.
    One of the delivery nurses said she had never seen so much fluid, ever.
    I really think that all the fluid I had must have cushioned the contractions,
    because after it broke I was in immediate pain.

    [this is rather making me nervous, all this labor talk on my blog. yikes.]

    I was fully dilated almost right away, and the next two hours were alternating pushing and breathing through contractions.
    I finally realized that the baby was stuck.
    Olivia, though a car birth, was the easiest delivery.
    Hudson was by far the easiest labor, but the hardest delivery.

    Hudson was born at five minutes past 11pm.
    He was absolutely perfect.
    His daddy and I both sobbed upon his arrival, and upon hearing, “It’s a BOY!!”

    We’ve done it both ways, finding out gender, and not finding out gender.
    And let me say, that moment of birth and not knowing is unlike any other.
    So often I wondered why we had chosen to wait when it’s so easy to find out.
    At that moment, I was so glad we waited.

    Hudson had some bruising on his cheeks, nose, and eyes after birth.
    He had indeed been stuck.
    His head was 14.5 inches around – a full 2 inches larger than Olivia’s, and almost 2 pounds bigger.
    Zoe’s head was exactly the same as Hudson’s.
    Until comparing my three babies and their deliveries, I had no idea that head size is so very crucial.
    They say the baby’s size comes from the father, so, thanks Husband.  :)

    And that was Hudson’s birth experience.
    I say the labor was unbelievably wonderful.
    Those stories that labor doesn’t hurt? That I always laughed at and thought it was all a joke? They really are true.

    And I say the delivery was unbelievably hard.
    Those stories where the woman feels like she can’t do it? That she’s near death? They really are true.

    But overall, I feel incredibly, incredibly blessed by God’s mercy.
    It really was amazing – 7 hours of labor, after 16 abd 50? I feel so very blessed.

    A few more pictures, and then I’ll end this post-that-became-way-too-long…

    // first pictures after birth //

    Ben and his first son, named after him.

    BENJAMIN, named after my husband Benjamin, means “Beloved Son.”
    HUDSON, named after the great missionary to China, Hudson Taylor, means “God’s Heir.”

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    This chubby little goodness belongs to US! How are we ever so privileged?

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    One of the wonderful delivery nurses.

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    Little details…

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    newborn physical supplies, and luxury lotion I took along for after the birth…

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    First look of the sisters!
    The picture quality is poor, but the look on their faces is priceless!

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    First picture as a family of five!

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    The grandfathers… Ben’s dad, and my dad. This is the first grandson for my dad!

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    My parents and the first meeting.

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    I love baby yawns…

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    My parents with their grandchildren. Notice Zoe’s admiring gaze at her little brother.
    Overheard recently, “Mommy, can people marry brothers?” :)

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    My sister Ervina, who surprised me a month before her wedding!

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    Ben’s sister Laurie, who so kindly helped us for a day.

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    The baby’s bed must be perfect, Zoe thinks, and that means a doll pillow and a little animal.

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    Big Sister Love.
    The girls have done so very well with having a new little person in the family.
    I wasn’t sure what to expect, but thought we’d have some rough times.
    Almost two weeks later, they are both still adoring their little brother.

    Olivia was floating on air the first two days, and we could hardly even speak with her, she was so over-the-top excited.
    She chattered non-stop, and touched him constantly, and kissed him incessantly.
    “Him soooo cute, mom.”
    “Wook at him widdle hands, mom. Him so tiny.”
    “I fink him wikes me, mommy.”
    Oh, she’s precious with him.

    Zoe on the other hand, is equally as thrilled, but expresses it in more quiet ways.
    She sits and holds him for long periods of time, unlike Olivia’s 5-second wonders.
    She makes sure he has his paccy, and that his bed is perfectly arranged, and takes it all in with big eyes.
    And if I ask one of them to get something for me, I better make sure I have TWO jobs.
    Who knew there would be fights over who gets to help mommy with the baby?

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    They both fell asleep here, it was so precious. 

    Hudson & Zoe

    Hudson - day 4

    And so ends this long and rambly post, written at many different intervals. :)

    from the tired but happy mama…

    ~ clarita

  • What Are Little Boys Made of, Made of?


    What are little boys made of?
    Snakes and snails, and puppy dog tails.
    That’s what little boys are made of.
    –author unknown


    We are absolutely thrilled to announce the arrival of

    Benjamin Hudson

    he was born less than an hour of twelve days late
     11:05pm, May 5, 2012
    weighing in at 8 chubby pounds plus 10 more ounces
    20 short inches

    hudson - blog pic 

    He is named after his wonderful father, and after the missionary Hudson Taylor.
    We will be calling him Hudson.

    More details later! :)

    ~clarita for the thrilled little family
    {daddy, and three little mommies}


  • How to Make a 5-Star Bed.


    {Nesting} 333 

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    ~ clarita