Lillah's Birth Story



            On the day you were born, Lillian Adelaide, my noble lily, the Lord changed everything.  You see, little girl, as wonderful and miraculous as you are, labor with you may have been the most challenging for me physically thus far.  You were posterior and, in my opinion, not at all ready to leave your cozy little nest to face the world, even though God said otherwise.
            I started having contractions on Monday, the day before your due date, not intense but they never went away.  Then, on Thursday around noon, the contractions changed.  This was the real thing but far apart and long: 10 minutes apart and 2 minutes long.  Until the very end, that never changed.  It was hard waiting, wondering how long this labor would be since typical signs of progress were missing.  At one point I sat on the ball and leaned into Daddy’s lap to take a nap and cry because I felt discouraged and beaten down.  I wanted to hold you.  I missed your brothers.  It was their first night ever away from home and my heart was breaking. And then…
            Well, then I saw the verse I had written in red marker on the mirror to encourage me during labor: Psalm 13:5, 6, “I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.  I will sing to the Lord because He has dealt bountifully with me.”  When I wrote the verse, I was taken with how bountifully the Lord had- and continues to- dealt bountifully with me, offering mercy and grace; salvation beyond my understanding that makes my heart break and the tears run endlessly; that He has taken me- a sinner, filth in rags, unfit for anything good and holy- and cleansed me, sanctified me with the Blood of the Lamb and then made me the vessel He has chosen to bring you into this world- precious, beloved before birth.  But, in that moment, I saw the part about singing, trusting, rejoicing.  Could I rejoice? In pain, in exhaustion, in fear, in confusion, in seemingly endless waves, could I rejoice, trust, sing? How could I not when He hung on a tree for me and faced the weight of my sins? So I sang, silently, in the depths of my soul with more conviction than ever before: “Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee, how great Thou art, how great Thou art!”  And He changed everything.
            You see, God had already made me a promise that He would break the gates of bronze and the bars of iron to give me the treasures of darkness and the hidden riches of the secret place.  He would do this in order to show that He is the Lord and there is no other (Is. 45:3, 5).  He was just waiting for me to sing praise to Him, to trust Him and to rejoice in Him.  And that, my darling girl, is the point of the curse: to teach us in the dark wilderness of pain and doubt to trust, to rejoice and to sing.
            Within thirty minutes, you were born.  Because after 28 hours of self-reliance, I remembered Who controls everything and then I gave all my burdens to Him.  And then, I was reminded of how bountifully He has dealt with me, because, my joy and my crown, you were in here, in my arms, screaming louder than any newborn I’ve ever heard.  And He changed everything again because you were perfect.

A Response to Criticism of My Article

The following is a response I wrote to a woman, who will remain unnamed, who shared with me the sad story of hiding herself to be the perfect mother.  She was asking me to reconsider the stance I presented in the article I wrote in Above Rubies. I am publishing it here because I know that this woman represents more than just herself but also the falling away of our entire society from God's path.  As such, I am changing the salutation to the Women of America.  I pray this gives those of you who read this encouragement to stand for your beliefs.
In Christ,
Brandi






Dear Women of America.
I'm so sorry to hear the sad tale of your life that lead you to a
point where you felt like you had become a martyr on the alter of
motherhood.  I'm sorry that there was such a terrible event in your
life.  However, from what you wrote to me, and only what you wrote to
me, I think you had the wrong idea about motherhood from the
beginning.  Motherhood is not a "death sentence", it is a life
sentence! Everywhere around me, there is life and joy and laughter.
Everywhere I look there are things I can see that are terrible,
challenging or just plain irritating.  But when I chose to look past
the mess on the floor, when I chose to step over the laundry mountain,
and ignore the fact that we are having beans AGAIN... oh wait, that's
not my life!  Yes, I hate doing laundry.  I've hated it my whole life.
 And yes, I make thrifty meals, most of which include meat or pasta
(two of my favorite things). And yes there are messes on the floor.
You know why? Because I DON'T work tirelessly to keep my home clean.
Because I am encouraged by my husband, who TRULY considers me his
queen and tells everyone he's ever met about me to the point that
complete strangers know all about me, to nap daily, to play on the
computer, do the crafts I enjoy, and sit around as much as I want.  I
also spend my fair share of time complaining about all those things,
not just burying down "bad" feelings.
I am also saddened that you would take someone's testimony about God
speaking to their heart with words of comfort and encouragement and
turn it into something completely different.  To be truthful, I think
you completely misread the article that I wrote.  I wasn't complaining
about the fact that I am not a lawyer at this point.  In fact, I had
dropped out of college LONG before I became a Christian or a mother
because I knew it wasn't for me.  I hated everything about the law. Or
that I don't have time to pursue my own interests.  I'm pretty sure
that no one else in my family is all that interested in learning to
knit or garden or make cheese.  And I don't do those things because I
have to.  I do them, with my husband's encouragement, because that's
what I want to do.  And when I decide I don't like it, I give it up
with my husband's encouragement.  I have never considered giving up on
childish dreams to become a woman with responsibilities to those she
loves to be martyrdom.  I have never given up my true dreams.  In
fact, the biggest dream I ever had was to become a published writer
but I didn't write about it in that article because I felt like it
would be asking to be published.  I shared it simply out of the joy of
my heart in that moment.  But God knew the desires of my heart and the
gifts He had blessed me with in writing and it was published.  Just
like He had a wonderful surprise in store for me when my husband and I
bought our home.  For my whole life, all I've ever desired in a home
was a tangerine tree because I had wonderful memories of one when I
was a child.  About 2 months after buying our house, we discovered
that we had 7 tangerine trees.  God had taken the dream of my heart,
one that was silly and unimportant, and fulfilled it beyond my hopes.
It is the same for me with motherhood.  He has taken a desire of my
heart, one that was hidden, and the traumas of my past and healed them
through my children.  You see, your tragedy that helped you to accept
who God MADE YOU, not who you thought a godly woman was, whatever it
may have been freed you.  But at the same time it enslaved you.  You
are merely enslaved to a different anger now.  The only reason you
would take the time to read a magazine that you haven't a heart for
and then take the time to respond is that you are angry about who you
were and are projecting that onto others.  What you don't know about
me is that I don't say things I don't mean.  I am not hiding a heart
of anger behind a facade of self-righteousness.  I am more than
willing to share my angers.  I don't berate myself for "bad" emotions.
 However, as an adult I expect myself to control my emotions and deal
with them in a positive way.  I also am not blind enough to believe
that all my children will walk with the Lord.  My children have their
own personalities, their own failings and successes and will have
their own experience with God.  Will it grieve me if they are actively
walking away?  Of course it will.  Because I lived that life.  I lived
a life where I sought love and approval through premarital
relationships, where being the best and the brightest and getting all
the praise was the whole reason I had for being, where I ate drank and
made merry almost to the point of death, literally.  I do not plan on
having a million children because I read somewhere that was God's will
for me.  I planned on having a lot of children before I was ever a
believer, which happened when my oldest was 14 months old.  The second
they laid him in my arms, I looked at my husband and told him I wanted
20 more babies.  Because I knew what it was to lose that amazing
miracle I was holding in my arms.  You see, my traumas happened
earlier than yours.  Not only was I sexually abused as a child but, at
14, I had an abortion.  I spent the next 7 years convincing myself
that I never wanted children because the pain of having killed my own
was too much to bear.  So I never wanted to know that feeling again.
And then I was given a word TO ME from the Lord that called me to have
children.  However, from what you've written, whether you were called
or not, you were not in it for the heart of joyful giving and
obedience.  You were in it for the sacrifice.  I'm so sorry for your
regrets.  Truly, it is a sad story to hear.  However, have you ever
considered how any of your children might feel to know that you
consider the sacrifices you made for them to be the biggest regret of
your life.  And that you share that regret with total strangers? As a
woman whose own mother feels that way, I can promise you that when you
die, your biggest regret will be the hurt and trauma you yourself
caused your children by allowing your bitterness to overwhelm you to
the point that you considered it some kind of twisted ministry to tell
complete strangers that you gave up everything of yourself for your
family and you wish you hadn't.
I am highly offended that you think I am not educating myself everyday
or that I am merely an automation to do laundry and cook meals.  My
children know who I am, who I was, and why I am so grateful who for
God has made me into.  God never intends for our personalities to be
hidden or He would not have created each one of us with a different
personality and different giftings.  Even the Bible talks about this
in 1 Cor when Paul is discussing spiritual gifts.  I am also very
angry that you think I am no longer a thinking, investigative person.
You have no idea who or what I am but the tiny bit of my life that I
willingly shared with people I thought might be encouraged by my
testimony.  My intention was not to have a long drawn out debate on
how I have given myself up for the sake of my children in a misguided
attempt to earn recognition from God.  If that was what I was feeling
called to do, I would have submitted it to the NYTimes or something
similar.
While I know that you wrote this email in an attempt to share what
you've learned in a loving manner, I am sorry to say that the only
thing you conveyed to me was an angry, bitter heart who had no true
understanding of God's intention for women.  God wants to draw us to
Him, to comfort us, to lead us.  Following God, which is, YES, the
path less taken, is a joy. However, I have a Father who will never
fail me, or leave me, or abuse me.  A Daddy to run to with my hurt and
anger, with the trials of my life which are, TRUST ME, never ending.
I will be praying for you.  I think it is an amazing testimony that
God showed you the appearances that you were putting on.  However,
that testimony would be so much stronger if you were still walking the
path that God had set before you with a true understanding of grace
and faith, not just works.

I had an article published!


God's Dreams, Not My Own

            Yesterday was my husband's ten year reunion for high school. We were small town high school sweethearts so I wanted to go but we could neither afford it nor did we have a desire to leave our children overnight. However, it was the perfect opportunity for the enemy to start whispering in my ear. I only wish I hadn't listened, though I am so grateful for what the Lord showed me instead. You see, I remember very well who I was in high school. Yesterday, probably better than normal with the little reminders that kept cropping up from seemingly nowhere. I was fun, vibrant, outgoing. I was in charge, knew what I wanted, how to get it, willing to work for it, determined to never be a doormat. I was always doing something and had big dreams. I was very involved in school, yearbook, sports, even ASB at one point. I wanted to be a lawyer, go to a good college, live in NYC, travel around the world. If I go married and had children, which was a huge if since I didn't want them, it would be MUCH later in my life. I pretty much imagined my life would be like a movie. I mean, what non-believing teenager doesn't? I wasn't raised in a Christian home and the values of family, home and submission were not instilled in me. I was, I am ashamed to say, openly promiscuous until I met my husband. And to me, it wasn't a big deal at the time. I had even had an abortion when I was a teen, which I still regret to this day.
            Nowadays, my idea of sparkling conversation involve diapers and what's growing in my garden. I have three children and am a stay at home mother, training, teaching, cooking and cleaning my days away. What's that compared to being a lawyer, helping others, living a big life, traveling? How can I deal with the common issues of bickering, floors that never stay clean, laundry that never stays tidy and folded, and food that always needs cooking when I was supposed to be so much more than this? What would all those other people think of me: submissive; the freak wearing a head covering and skirts; not even having finished college; home schooling; still staying in our small town and buying a house there in which to raise a family? Was this really what I wanted to show people? Never mind the fact that a lot of them know what we are doing and who we are thanks to social media. For some reason, actually seeing them made a big difference.
            My husband could see I was working up to a huge outburst so he took the children to the park. I decided to make dinner and clean the house before home school started today. Yet another thing that separated me from who I used to be: home schooling. I loved school, was always the teacher's pet and got great grades without even trying. Still feeling down and defeated, I put on my favorite worship CD and started to chop veggies for the supper I was making. Ironically, I was making stew because I sure was stewing about the life I had wanted. The life I had intended to have. The life I had given up for this one.
            Suddenly, the peace of the Lord fell upon me in a powerful way. The Lord says in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” I was right! I had given up the life I had wanted and intended for this one. And yes, it is filled with messes, bickering and irritations. But it is filled with joy, laughter, hugs, kisses and peace. I don't want to be a lawyer, a law enforcer. I want to be a grace enforcer and I get to be that to my children everyday. I don't want to miss a moment of my children's learning and I don't have to. While diapers aren't always a good topic of conversation, there is nothing wrong with finding joy in the fruit of the land that the Lord has brought us into. And that the land is in a small town where we grew up is all that much better. We can go to the exact place my husband and I met to show our children. We can continue our legacy where it started. Why would I want to live in the city surrounded by man's creation and glory when I can live in this small town surrounded by God's creation? Am I a freak for wearing skirts and a head covering as a reminder to be sweet and feminine and submit to my husband  or am I an obedient child of God doing my best to bring joy and peace into my home by following God's calling on my life? Best of all, I get to give up my dreams in favor of the Lord's dream for me. What a trade! I give up on something that would have undoubtedly brought me sorrow for something that invariably brings me joy. And I get to help three little men and my grown man to grow into the Lord's dreams for them, which is the most rewarding and demanding job I could have ever dreamed about. Truly, God's Word is true in Jer 29:11: “For I know the thoughts that I have toward you, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” 

Something Big is Coming and a $56,000 Homeschool Sweepstakes! | Home Educating Association

Something Big is Coming and a $56,000 Homeschool Sweepstakes! | Home Educating Association

It's Been 8 Months Since I Posted and...

A LOT has happened!  The biggest news is that we bought our first home!  The Lord blessed us so mightily! We weren't even looking for a house to buy, just considering what we might do when our lease was up since our family had expanded and suddenly we were in escrow after only looking at 3 houses and, though the process took longer than we wanted.  We moved in right before Thanksgiving and got to celebrate the holidays here in the new house, which was wonderful in general and magical for Colin and I.  Just knowing that this is OUR house that the Lord has blessed us with is so surreal.  We honestly never thought we would be able to afford a home in California, especially in Valley Center.  Our home is on 1.38 acres, including many citrus trees (a staple of a typical Valley Center property), a plum tree, a peach tree and some unknown tree that various people have guessed to be another peach, an apple or an almond tree.  It's a really fun guessing game trying to decide what everything is.  Also, there are TONS of bulbs planted everywhere- which makes the anti-California girl in me insanely happy- and some truly beautiful roses.  I still can't decide if my favorite roses are the coral colored ones or the tiny pink ones that line the driveway.  I'm also super happy that the only palm tree in the ground here is in the front where I can't see it.  The boys are in hog heaven because the tree outside the front yard has two swings in it that they love to play in.  When they are older, we have a gully on either side of the land that will be the perfect place to play boy games, to jump off things, to run and feel like wild savages.
Blossoms from mystery tree
Every time I go outside and do yard work, I feel like the Lord blesses me more and more with the bounty here.  When I was a girl, growing up in an orange grove was amazing, mostly because, from about November when the first blush of orange hit the tangerine tree to March when they were barely still edible, I would sit on the boulders beside the clementine tree and eat from the branches all day.  My whole adult life, all I've ever wanted as far as a garden is a tangerine tree.  One day, I was having an especially hard day with the children that involved several people staring at me with pity and commenting on badly behaved children at the grocery store, and as I was driving up the driveway, the Lord opened my eyes to a tree that had just ripened... it was a clementine.  As I got out of the car to inspect it, I noticed another... and another... and another.  Seven total.  Blessed beyond my expectations and totally unexpected.  Another time I was weeding in the area I plan on having an herb garden.  As I'm weeding, my hands unknowingly work around a mint plant... and another... and another... and another. When I was a child, my mom always had mint planted under the water faucets outside to be watered by the leaking hose attachment.  One of the best memories I have is when she taught me that it was an edible plant because I loved being able to go outside and pluck a mint leaf or two, crush it with my teeth and enjoy the freshness of it while I read my book in the sun.  How the Lord blesses us in such simple ways if only we seek His face.
Kitchen Tile
The house is a three bedroom, two bath, 1350 sq ft ranch from 1971.  We love the new laminate floors (yay for easy to clean!), the big window overlooking the front yard, the lovely shower the simplicity of the house.  I love the pocket door into the kitchen that reminds me so much of my grandmother's house, the deep linen closest, the light that fills the house.  I love the window seat we are making under the big window in the living room (another childhood dream... I mean, what avid reader hasn't dreamed of a window seat?), the built in hutch in the dining room, the big old stove in the kitchen and the adorable tile in the kitchen.  For the time being, I love the little sea horse clings on the sliding glass door because, they too, remind me of my grandmother's house.
Of course, there are things that are frustrating, as with any house and, from what I hear, especially when it's your own home.  I am slowing growing accoustomed to the HUGE, overpowering lava rock fireplace.  The kitchen is small and the cupboards are an eyesore on top of not being standard size and the laundry room is in the FREEZING garage.  Oh, and the dishwasher is dented so it doesn't close all the way sometimes... which means I am constantly yelling at the dang thing when it's not working and, for some weird reason, pleased with myself when it is, like I somehow bent it to my will and dominated it from obsintantly refusing to clean the dishes.
However, to me, these things are so minor compared with the joy of being blessed with this home.  I feel like the Isrealites coming into the promised land.  The Lord promised them the land, the cities they hadn't built and the vineyards they hadn't plants and that's what I feel He has done for us.  On top of all that, we changed churches and have been welcomed with open arms into a small group of young parents, people who we have become friends with and whose company we truly enjoy.

In other news, Dylan has started preschool which he still can't decide if he loves or hates.  He says he only likes it when he gets to go to the prize box.  I guess that's a good thing since we are still planning to home school.  I am eagerly waiting to get our tax return to purchase our curriculum for kindergarten and am so excited to share the joys of new discoveries with Dylan.  Joshua, however, is so jealous that Dylan gets to go to preschool and cries everyday when I bring him home after dropping Dylan off. They are both so smart!  When Joshua gets upset that something isn't going his way, he now says, "This is RIDICULOUS! I'm NEVER gonna get it!"  Dylan said somethings so funny the other day. "Joshua, these aren't tater teach. They are tater TAUGHTS!"  Peter is crawling now.  He loves to go in the toy room and play with the big boys but mostly he crawls around the house following me as I clean.  His favorite thing is to sit in front of the mirror and "talk" to the other baby.



Welcome Peter Joseph!

It official: Peter Joseph is our little paradoxical baby. He has defied every expectation we had of him. As many of you know, we were planning a hospital birth since we couldn't afford a home birth. In the middle of May, we found out that our doctor had lost his privileges to deliver at the hospital and we began planning our home birth, which, through God's grace, was much more affordable. We were so happy because we were concerned about getting to the hospital an hour away in time. After our last birth and the fact that we live in what many people consider the middle of nowhere, our midwives were concerned that they wouldn't make it here in time. We were instructed to call as soon as I thought I was in labor. But I was convinced that God wouldn't bring the baby that quickly since He had coordinated it for us to have a home birth with midwives that we trusted. So two weeks later, after many false alarms (most of which I didn't contact the midwives about), one of the midwives asked if I would be willing to have my water broken to "help things along." Though I am not for labor inducement, with my midwives' concern and the annoyance of having contractions for the past few months, I agreed. La Shel said they would be at our house around 8 or 8:30 to break my water after the boys went to bed. When she arrived, we got down to business rather quickly and broke my water. I was instructed to go for a walk to help get things started. So a-walking we went and nothing happened.... After a while, I was told to go to bed and rest and everyone laid down. After a very restless night for Colin and I, Jamin left around 5 AM with instructions to call La Shel if things changed from the 9 minute apart contractions since she is only about 30-35 minutes away. Still nothing happening.
At 9 AM, La Shel called to check on me. Things still weren't really happening but I was still tired. I told La Shel that I was going to lay down again for a little while, then eat breakfast and go for a walk. She suggested that perhaps we should augment our induction with a bit of castor oil. Leaving me with instructions to take castor oil at noon if nothing was happening or call her with any changes, we got off the phone. At about 9:30, I woke up and ate some breakfast and got ready to go for a walk, even though I was still tired. At 9:45, we set off at a slow pace. Within the first 30 feet from the house, I had a contraction lasting a minute. By the time we were 2 houses down from our house, I was having another contraction and Colin was sending La Shel a message to come back to the house. I told him he was crazy and that as soon as she got here, things were going to stop again. We got to the pond and I was having another contraction. Halfway back to the house along the golf course, after another contraction, Colin suggested we head home. I still wanted to lay down and didn't think anything was really happening so I agreed. When we got home, I had another contraction (my 5th) and ended up throwing up on the grass. I told Colin to call the midwife and find out where she was: 15 minutes away according to her GPS and going 80MPH. I sat down on the chair outside, enjoying the sun and breeze and noting a little longer break between contractions. As I started another contraction, La Shel called back to tell me to go lay down so that gravity wasn't helping Baby along. I agreed since I felt a minor urge to push at the time. After laying down, I had the major urge to push and told Colin to start washing his hands and find out where the midwife was: 10 minutes away according to GPS (more like 12 in real life). The next contraction the phone rang and completely broke my no pushing concentration. At that point, I told Colin that he needed to call La Shel again to find out where she was: at the corner of Cole Grade and Valley Center Rd, 6 minutes. She began giving Colin instructions: get the blankets, put some chuck pads under me. After a second of panic, he began to follow her instructions, only to be interrupted by my countermand to undress me NOW because the baby was coming. He dropped what he was doing to undress me and discovered that the baby was crowning. As he reached out to support the baby's head, the entire head emerged, followed quickly by the baby's body. Though not funny at the time, I think it's funny that Colin was trying to tell La Shel what was happening but by the time he said, "There's the head!" the baby was completely out. That's right, Colin delivered our baby with no midwife here, 28 minutes from first contraction to birth! The first paradox: God arranged for us to have a home birth because He knew we would be safer at home!  The second: I was sure I wasn't in real labor, my midwife wanted to further augment and my husband was the only one who was sure it was real.
After the birth, Colin followed La Shel's instructions to lay the baby on my belly and begin drying him off, check to see if the cord was pulsating, etc. Even before I could see little Peter Joseph, I said, "He's so tiny!" The whole end of my pregnancy, my belly was so hard and big that we were convinced it was all baby and that he would be close to 10 pounds since his big brothers were both over 9 pounds. Not so! He weighed in at a tiny 7lbs 11oz at birth. I know, I know. This is a normal sized baby but, after having birthed my two 9+ pound whoppers, this little guy is a tiny little peanut. Plus there is something about him that seems... I don't know. Fragile isn't the right word and neither is dainty but even the Thesaurus isn't giving me the word I'm looking for. When the midwife broke my water, my belly halved in size. I seriously looked 6 months pregnant, not full term.
PJ is a teeny tiny eating machine, nursing constantly and easily. What a blessing! Dylan and Joshua love him. Dylan wants to treat him like one of Ava's baby dolls, telling me what to do with him and where to put him down. Joshua has surprised me by easily giving up his number one nursing status and insisting that I nurse the baby every time he so much as moves. Though they are very challenging right now because they are so excited and don't understand the fragility of a newborn, they are adjusting a lot better than we had hoped. Colin wants to hold him constantly, loving the special connection they have.
So all is well here in the Skidmore household, with everyone adjusting to our tiny new addition.














Blessings

The Lord is good! We have had a lot of changes in the last week, big ones and ones that can change the whole course of our family's life. These changes do come with complications in the short term, though.

The first major change is Colin's new position at work. He is no longer going to be the Casino Operation Scheduler. He is going to be promoted to Manager of a new department that analyzes the efficiency and enacts new ideas throughout the whole property. The program is called Continuous Improvement. This is awesome news since Colin wasn't the biggest fan of his previous position and is very excited about this new position. Ironically, both his father and brother in law are well versed in the process. His father spearheaded this process in American factories and his brother in law is a black belt in the process. So between the personal resources Colin brings to the table and the training he will be receiving, he will be quite ready for this. There are, however, some short term challenges this poses. Being 9 months pregnant, the week long training in Arizona next week is making me a bit nervous. My mother, bless her heart, has agreed to come stay with me and the boys during the time he is away even though she is coming straight from a two week trip to visit my aunt to my house for 6 days with all the drama going on at her own home. She's a bit nervous about it since I can go into labor at any time.

Which brings us to the next big change of the week: I am having a home birth after all! There has been lots of drama that has nothing to do with us but lead us to being able to have the home birth we wanted all along with our midwives from Joshua's birth. We are all very excited about it but, with Colin's impending trip, a bit nervous that the baby may be born while he's gone. If so, my mom will be here to help but Colin and I will both be pretty bummed if he misses it.

Finally, Dylan had an appointment with a pediatrician that focuses on children with ADHD. The doctor actually thinks that if he has ADHD, it's secondary to either Sensory Processing Disorder or Asperger's Syndrome. From what I've read, as a complete non-expert in these disorders and a pretty decent expert in Dylan, it seems like the Sensory Processing Disorder is more likely and more fitting with his symptoms. The pediatrician wants us to take Dylan to a psychiatrist to determine what, exactly, is going on with him but she doesn't accept insurance and charges a whopping $250/hr. Our insurance will reemburse half but we still can't really afford that amount, either. So I am going to try to find another psychiatrist who either accepts our insurance or charges less. We also want to try Cranial Sacral Therapy with Dylan as there is evidence that it helps children with both these disorders and ADHD. BUT the really good thing is that there are doctors paying attention to him, trying to help him as opposed to medicate him and send him out the door without ever looking at him.

Overall, it's been quite the eventful week here in the Skidmore house! While all these things are good and blessings from the Lord, it's been a bit overwhelming to process it all. Please pray that we make it through these next, very exciting and busy weeks easily. Also, that we find a doctor for Dylan that we can work with and that the Lord gives them discernment in the situation.

Hope all is well!

Another day...

Well, it's official! Our boys had their birthdays and we now have a 4 year old and a 2 year old. And pretty soon we are going to have a newborn too!
Currently the boys are having "nakie time," also known as any attempt to change their clothes that results in their running around the house screaming "NAKIE BOYS!" It reminds me of my mom's little dogs. When you take them out of the bath, the dogs run around the house trying their level best to dry themselves on the furniture and rub themselves dirty on the carpet. That's pretty much the image in my head every time they play "nakie boys." At least they wear themselves out.... Oh wait, they just get MORE hyper!
So there's not a lot going on with us lately. Well, other than the contractions I've been having for the past few months. And they aren't Braxton Hicks, either. My doctor says everything is fine, that I'm not dilating and that if I do go into labor at this point, they won't stop my labor since I'm 34 weeks now. So pretty much any time between now and mid-June these contractions might become the real thing. My doctor has me wearing a Prenatal Cradle, which though comfortable for the most part, is totally annoying. The straps come up really close to my neck so I have 1 or two shirts I can wear without the straps hanging completely out. I suppose it helps make the contractions less intense but doesn't really stop them.
Dylan and Joshua are getting so big! They are physically huge but intellectually, they aren't babies anymore (for the most part). Dylan is learning to read and doing an awesome job with it. For the other mamas out there, I REALLY recommend the Bob Books for reading. Dylan is the type of child who gets extremely upset when he can't do something all by himself, which is one of the many wonderful traits he gets from me, and he was refusing to learn to read even though I knew he was capable of it. The Bob books were awesome because he can read the entire book by himself and it's short enough to hold his attention, too. Joshua knows all his letters and the phonetic sounds they make. Everytime someone is impressed with this, I have to admit that I don't deserve the credit since he learned them from a DVD my aunt recommended called Talking Letter Factory by Leap Frog. The best thing about it- other than teaching them letters and phonics- is that it's not annoying like many other things they could be watching... and I'm talking about Yo Gabba Gabba and various other freaky and annoying shows.
Colin is doing well. He's so excited for the new baby. I honestly think he's so excited because he got to pick the baby's name (and no, we still aren't telling!) and I think it gives him a better connection with the baby. His work is still the same but he got an AWESOME review from the Casino Operations Director and they are making him the scheduler for all Casino Operations instead of just Table Games, in addition to the role he fills ordering the things that the casino needs like cards and signs for events and whatnot. So it's nice that they rely on him so heavily, making him indispensible. My favorite line from his review said something along the lines of how he makes it so that the management staff on the floor can be effective. how awesome is that? He also recently got a lot of recognition for having scheduled effectively enough that the labor cost budget came in about $50K less than anticipated for the year. That's my husband!
Anyway, I just wanted to update this before I start forgetting about it again. I know I haven't really updated my food blog lately either. I haven't really been cooking much with not feeling well late in the afternoon. You can check it out at B's Kitchen.
Hope everyone is well. Please let us know if you have any prayer needs so the children and I can be praying for you!

Here are some pictures of what we've been up to lately!

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Dylan and Ava- This pretty much describes thier personalities!

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Dylan's pinata

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Store bought birthday cupcakes. What can I say? I was lazy this year!

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Joshua using the broken binoculars

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Dylan writing his name in sidewalk chalk. I know that it doesn't look like his name, but it is.

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Dylan doing a Charlie Brown impression. I have like a million pictures of me as a little girl making this same pouty face. :/

What's Happening?

Not too much is happening that is super fun and exciting to anyone but us but I thought I would put up a post anyway.

We started Dylan in T-ball which is a mixed blessing for him. He likes it a bit but has a hard time with it because he's so young still. But I think I want him to stick with it for a variety of reasons. The main reason being that I think there are lessons he needs to learn from the bigger kids on the team, like not to boss everyone around all the time because no one likes it. Unlike Dylan, Joshua LOVES baseball practice and games. He wants so badly to be out there playing with the big kids and it makes him so angry that he isn't allowed to yet! Last game, he made a break down the fence line and made a hard right onto the T-ball field at the end of the fence. Though I was really annoyed at the time, I'm pretty sure it must have been funny to someone watching a 7 mo. pregnant woman RUNNING after an almost 2 year old.

Dylan is suddenly interested in reading so I went and bought the first set of Bob Books at the bookstore. The day I bought them, he went from being totally discouraged trying to read this word here and that word there in books to actually being able to READ! He also started a new game in the car and at dinner... and just about everywhere, where he spells out a word and I have to guess what he's spelling. And for some reason, he really wants to spell "mailbox" all the time.

I think it's time for some small pet in this house. Poor Dylan captured a snail and is holding it captive as his "pet." I don't know which one I feel sorrier for: the kid or the snail. But he's been feeding it and talking about it. Nana also gave him a small stuffed cat that he's treating like a pet.

Well, I need to get to laundry and cleaning. Or napping. I haven't decided yet which is more important. :)

Since I've been asked...

Ok so I've had a couple of people ask me why I haven't updated my blog lately so here's a new post just for you guys.. or girls, rather. I haven't posted in almost a year so I guess a lot has been going on.

First of all, Colin got a new position. It's not a promotion but a new job nonetheless. He is now the table games scheduler for Harrah's, the casino where he works. The position is really demanding, especially emotionally since all 318 of the people who he schedules have the natural attitude of their needs being the most important. He has been really stressed with all that so that's been a major challenge.

Joshua has his annual echocardiogram in December and we got some wonderful news: his heart looks so much better that he doesn't have to return for 5 years! What a blessing of healing from the Lord! Obviously, this takes a lot of pressure and stress off of our shoulders and we are so thankful for the Lord's mercy on this. Joshua is a little firecracker. He is getting so big, potty training and talking up a storm. Sometimes, he just repeats exactly what we've just said to learn the new words. He's also quite musically inclined, which he MUST get from Daddy since I'm tone deaf and can't keep a beat to save my own life. It's really a good thing I never wanted to be a cheerleader since I can't even clap to a beat. Or do a cartwheel, but that's a different story altogether. Joshua is already starting to sing songs with correct lyrics, which Dylan, 2 years older, is just starting to do. He is quite sweet tempered and loving... until his temper flares. So pretty much whenever he and Dylan are together. He takes after his mommy in the regard since my temper is both hotter and quicker to flare (and fizzle) than Colin's.

Dylan is getting so big! He's already in 5T clothes and he's not even 4 yet! He's so smart and he's bossy. I think that anyone who knows me, knows where that came from. :) He is starting to sound out words, as long as they aren't in books and refuses to learn how to properly count from 12 to 20. He skips all the odd numbers and tells me that I'm making him give up when I try to teach him the other numbers. I'm trying to think it's funny and not frustrating. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. This past year, Dylan was diagnosed with ADHD so we are trying to handle that. We finally caved and gave him the meds because he was having a hard time controlling himself and he has so much more confidence now. We also did an ADHD diet to figure out if he had any dietary triggers that made his behavior more challenging. So we no longer eat dairy, processed foods (like packages stuff from the store), food coloring, etc. It was really hard at first but gets easier all the time. We also switched over to only grassfed meat, so we are mostly vegans now. I am so impressed lately because Dylan has been requesting salad, which is a miracle! Guess that's what happens once you have to eat it for breakfast a few times after refusing it at dinner. :) He's also pointing out the foods that aren't healthy at the grocery store and asking for "healthy snacks" instead of crackers and such. We are going back and forth about whether to enroll him in a preschool or not. We want to homeschool him but feel like he would love the other kids around. The issue is that we don't want to enroll him and let him get used to it and then pull him out and keep him home. I don't really think that's fair to him. So I think we will just wait til he can be enrolled in sports and go about it that way.

Our biggest news is that I'm pregnant again! I'm due in mid-May to early June with ANOTHER BOY! I've been feeling ok but tired out from the children. I've also been really craving breads and baked goods so I've been doing that a lot, which is especially rewarding integrating our new vegan eating habits. Colin is becoming quite the muffin baker, himself.

Lately, i've been reading The Power of a Praying Wife and having my eyes really opened to the ways that I'm not praying for my husband's needs. I really recommend it to all the believing wives out there. I've also started reading Created to Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl. It, too, is opening my eyes to ways I can treat my husband with respect and honor that I've not been doing. Another book that I totally recommend.

Well, time to put the little ones down for a nap. Hopefully I will be on here posting more often. I guess I always feel like I don't have that much to say that anyone would want to read about. :)
A few days ago, the boys and I went to Em's house after the gym for the afternoon. While Dylan was sleeping, I helped Em watch the girls and Joshie while she gardened. Here are a few pictures from that day. And yes, Joshua is in the front lawn wearing only a diaper like a true redneck baby. Good thing the neighbors already think Em is a bit crazy. :)


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The Car

So I didn't post about our flat tire yesterday when we were leaving the Motocross thing because I just called AAA and out came the tow truck, on went the donut and today after the beach clean up we were just going to head over to Discount Tire to cash in on our $9 free fix or replacement warranty thing that we've used more times than I care to admit. Our tires have bad luck I guess. So there we go to the tire place in the blazing heat, which made for a beautiful early morning beach clean up trip but not so fun for waiting for the car to get fixed. So here's what happened with the tires. We get there and the guy takes one look at the tire and sees that our alignment was so bad, the inside part of the tread on the tire is practically gone, while the rest is still there, looking like we've got lots of use still on them. He can't cash in the warranty but checks the other tires too. The insides of all the tires are just the same so we need to replace them all and get an alignment too. So pretty much, if God hadn't blessed us with a flat tire, we would have continued to drive on extremely dangerous, about to be the tire bits in the middle of the freeway and the family on the side of the road tires without even KNOWING it because I just looked at the tires maybe a week or two ago because I had this nagging idea that we needed new tires. They looked TOTALLY fine because all the wear from the alignment was on the inner part of the tire that isn't evident unless the tire is turned so you can see it. So PRAISE JESUS for flat tires, AAA and warranties. And credit cards since there is no way we had $600 to shell out for new tires.

I will get those pictures up from the boy's parties soon, I promise! I'm waiting for Emily to email me the pictures but Ava and Mad are sick and none of them slept last night so I'm going to give her a few more days before I harass her about it. :)

Our new year

For me, the new year starts between the end of March and the middle of April. I guess that's the stay at home mom in me that I don't have to be concerned with what the outside world and my husband considers the new year. Nope, our new year starts with Dylan's birthday and finishes with Joshua's. Needless to say, it's a new year in our house.

This past year has been a tough one for us. Between Joshua's illness, broken collar bone and misc other ailments; Dylan's "terrible" twos and potty training; my 8 months of kidney stones before I gave up the fight and got the surgery; Colin's additional work responsibilities; and the daily hubbub that comes from having two wonderfully wild little boys, we've been full of stress and changes.

Here's to our new year.

Dylan and I, though we still have conflict between us, have been getting along much better of late. All of a sudden, he's all snuggles and kisses and wanting to snuggle before bed. Today, Colin got free tickets to a motocross event at his work for me to take Dylan. I don't know if I've ever seen him so excited. He was in AWE of those guys and I have to say that I was too. I don't understand the desire to do stunts like that but I guess that's just part of the difference between men and women. Dylan has also calmed down a lot. Very rarely does he play race cars and run around my house like a wild banshee.

Joshua is just a little love but he's got a temper on him... I wonder where he gets that from? He's finally starting to gain weight or at least look a bit more filled out. That was a big worry for us. Joshua loves to play with his brother and, in fact, Dylan was one of his first words. His favorite word is "again." I always think it's so funny that he never misses me when I'm gone until I get back. Joshua's favorite game is helping mommy sweep or mop the floor. He's also got the Skidmore musicality. Let's face it, that didn't come from my side of the family.

The Lord has blessed us so much in the past year. After Joshua's birth, Colin gave his life to Christ. When Joshua got sick in October, we both became a bit backslidden but in the past few months both of us have been blessed with the thirst for the Lord again. Since we moved it's been hard to go to church on Sundays with Colin's schedule and the fact that we only have one car but my inlaws have been so loving as to agree to pick Colin up from work on Wednesday nights so I can go to church again.

That's all for now, as I have to get the boys into the car so we can go pick Colin up from work. Tomorrow we are doing an early morning beach cleanup with Harrah's and then will probably head over to Em's for lunch so we don't stop at McDonald's and spend money on empty calories. Yesterday was the boy's family birthday party. I'll be uploading pictures from that and from Dylan's birthday with his friends as soon as I upload them.

My Boys

I sure do love my boys. I LOVE this picture, even though it's such a simple picture. It lifts my heart.

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Wild Animal Park

Another visit to the Wild Animal Park. It was a super fun trip!

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Arkansas

Recently the boys and I went back to Arkansas to visit my dad who had open heart surgery to replace a valve. We saw my sister Tara and my brother Joey and his family. It was an overdue visit since I haven't seen Joey and Joy since their wedding, Tara since before Colin and I got married and neither of my siblings had ever met the boys. And I'd never met my nieces, both of whom are the same age, within days, as Dylan and Joshie. I also got to visit with my Grandma Sylvia who has breast cancer and Grandpa Paul and several other members of the family who I haven't seen since I was about 4. Overall, it was a really good trip other than the fact that Dylan got the flu and ended up in the ER for one of the nights. Here are some pictures from the trip.

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Joshua and Riley Kate playing with the balls at the park.

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Dylan and Kierra

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The babies and Auntie Tara's dog, Pixie

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Riley and Tara

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The big kids and Auntie Joy feeding the ducks and geese at the Fish Pond

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Me with Grandma Sylvia holding Riley

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Tara and Grandpa Paul

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Tara and me at Eureka Springs Park coming down from the bluff above

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The giant Jesus statue at the Passion Play in Eureka Springs

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Our small family includes Colin, Brandi, Dylan, Joshua, Peter and a new little girl due in July. We're a young family raising our children for Christ.