March 29, 2013

it's a good friday because...

1. because i found these paint buckets at lowe's for the boys' easter baskets. and i think they are swell.

they were around $3.50 each. and will last til the boys are 18. i think that's a good deal, don't you? i just need someone to tell me a cute way to put names on them. stencils? chalkboard paint?
2. because i got my first love-water dog tag necklace and am giddy with excitement.

this dog tag necklace can be purchased here. This provides a family with water for a whole year.

or you can order this style here. are they not the cutest???!!!

3. because i discovered a new way to add avocado to my menu. i have been using it instead of mayo and i'm a huge fan. i thought i was being completely original until my sister and mom said they do it too.

4. because i get to stare at moo's velvety paws.

i like to baby-talk to the kitties but they just ignore me. whatevs. john thinks i need a dog because they are more affectionate.

5. because we survived some unpleasant dr visits and are hopefully on the mend soon. the care bear sticker was for me. the boys got ninjago.

6. because i got these ombre pillows on sale at target for $9.99 each.

the reddish/salmon hued pillow was needed for the go with the red pot waaaaaaay behind it. can you see the pot?

and i put the blue/yellow one in my room as an anniversary present to myself.

a little while later i came up to john and said,

"honey, our bed frame is out of style. can you get rid of it right this second?"(it was only $2 at a garage sale)

and he just smiled and hugged me. because he knows i'm slightly ridiculous at times and loves me anyway.

before i could say BOO or take photos, he dismantled it...

and walked it right out the door.

i grabbed an old picture of how my bed looked before. the blanket was getting filthy beyond my washer's ability to clean it. and i just felt i needed a change.

so i literally gave my bed a 5-minute make-over. it's completely simple and i really like it and it's ok if you don't. my bed could use a little help(like maybe this bed frame?), but i didn't feel like spending any money on it right now.

billy balls in a soup can.

7. but the MAIN reason it's a good friday is because Jesus died on the cross for us...he took our sins away, so if we place our trust in Him, when we die, we can live with Him in heaven for ever and ever and ever.

i really want to hang out with you all in heaven. i will be wearing a yellow robe there, so keep your eyes peeled.

now. you might be saying "davi, i'm not a sinner. i'm a good person. i don't need Jesus to die for me."

and i'd say let's sit down and have a cup of coffee and talk about it. the main thing i'd say is that according to God we are all sinners and have fallen short of His perfect standards. nobody is perfect. we don't get to make the rules. He does. but he loved us all SO much, that he provided a way out for us through the painful death of His only beloved son...even when we were kicking and screaming and running away from Him.

and that is very good news on this friday indeed. 

March 25, 2013

love water winner and part II

First I'd like to say a HUGE thank you on behalf of myself and for all your tee-shirt orders from all over the country...and even outside the country. Seriously blown away. You guys rock. xxoo.

And the winners of my dream tee are:
1. Jessica Hope
2. Katie Lee
3. Shelly Smith

Congratulations girls! I will be contacting ya'll, one by one, so bear with me!

Click on my sidebar to get to to make a donation or buy tshirts/jewelry. They have some new jewelry in the shop! I have my eye on a dog tag necklace...

continued from When you don't get what you were expecting. 

An hour later, ER doc pops his head through the door with a triumphant smile.

"I have some good news for you. Your bloodwork confirms that you are very pregnant. There was a mix up with the urine samples in the lab."


A year or so later, that same ER dr came to my house and bought my pool table off of craigslist. 
Awkward much?

Anyhow, a few days later another ultrasound confirmed a beating heart.

"Thank you Jesus!" I knew baby #3 was a miracle.

At my 20 week ultrasound, we decided to peek at gender again.

I was nervous.

What if baby #3 had a cyst too? One bad ultrasound tends to sap joy from subsequent ones.

But no. Baby #3 did not have a cyst. But he did have a wee wee...

Laying on the ultrasound table I exclaimed "NOOOOOOOOOO!".

And my face turned beet red from the shock of it all. After all, this was to be my 3rd c-section and final child. John was done.

The ultrasound tech chuckled good-naturedly over my dismay and so I couldn't help but laugh too.

Back in the waiting room, I called my family and relayed the news in front of strangers.The strangers tried to console me with "our girls are soooo dramatic and hard" and "at least you don't have to go broke from a wedding!".

To which I replied, "I don't mind hard and I wanted to go broke from just one wedding!".

And I think my face stayed red for days. There was to be no little pitter-patter of girly feet down my hallways. I guess I subconsciously just expected that I was going to have 2 boys and a girl. And now, this was not going to happen.

And I was disappointed. And moped about it for around 2 weeks. Which I think is ok. I faced facts, dealt with it and then got the disappointment out of my system.

Then I found some super cute fabric from Strawberry Patches to make a blankie and diaper case. All of my hope in humanity was restored. I secretly started embroidering the name "Ollie" on his stuff.

When Oliver John made his entrance to this world, this mama was completely smitten. Once again, I reverted to proud mama showing off her baby.

photo to left by Ellie Grover.

A little while later I started blogging and Little Band of Brothers was born.

I was fortunate to have many friends with baby boys that year. I was in baby boy heaven.

I FULLY embraced having 3 boys and was blissfully ignorant of anyone who thought otherwise. Life was great. I was completely content as mama of all boys.

Then baby fever hit again. John said no. But things happen...and I was pregnant with baby #4.

Around 7 weeks along, I started bleeding a LOT. It felt like a rerun of Ollie's pregnancy, but worse. After my OB examined me she said "I think you are having a miscarriage", confirming my worst suspicions. I was crushed because I didn't think John would want to try again.

However. An ultrasound confirmed that baby #4 was alive and well (Lorie took my Jem maternity photo, lol, I was barely pregnant).

At that point, I didn't care at all what gender I was having. I was already used to having all boys and baby #4 was just icing on the cake. I was flooded with thanksgiving at the chance of having another baby. Oh how I loved babies. We couldn't wait to share our happy news that Halloween.

I do remember driving up to the snow that winter with John and the 3 boys. They were all making horrid boy noises and I remember threatening John with "this baby had better be a girl!" But that was as far as my thoughts went. Since this was going to be our last baby, I wanted to go out with a bang and be surprised by gender. I knew my older sister Jessica was not going to be happy about this, because she hates surprises.

So at the ultrasound, the tech wrote down the gender and we mailed it off to Jessica without peeking. Aside from God and the ultra sound tech, Jessica is the only person on the planet who knew the gender of my baby. To this day, I cannot believe I gave her that much power;)

We scheduled c-section #4 and finally my big day was here. I was nervous.

When John saw the gender, he laughed and said "Just as I expected!"

Once again, I was shocked. You would think by now I would have gotten used to this news. But no!

As an infant, Twain Orion was the most precious chunky thing I had ever seen and it was impossible not to love each and every ounce of his chubby thighs.

Twain has been completely cherished and adored by all members of this family. He's a spoiled one, that's for sure, mostly with attention by his brothers. He will always be the baby. As it should be.

In the days that followed I put on my happy face...because I was happy...but it was a little different this time. I was somehow aware that I had disappointed people. People had been rooting for me to have a girl and I did not deliver the goods. It was an odd feeling and I didn't know what to do about it.

Normally I could weasel and fudge my way out of any uncomfortable situation, but not this time. I was stuck and it was out of my control. I now had 4 boys in a world that was telling me that I need boys and girls. Something had shifted in the world. Or maybe it was always there and I had never noticed it before.

First it was a reckless comment here or there. And then it got more frequent. Some comments were indirect like "I don't want a boy."

Way harsh Tai.

or "Boy clothes are so ugly. Girl clothes are so much more fun". Whatevs people, whatevs. I heart boy clothes. Fine. There are some horrid boy clothes out there, I concede to that point.

However like Meg said in comments from my last post:

It makes me really sad. Because a baby is a person that God has entrusted us parents with. 
They come to earth to fulfill their own special mission, not to be someone's dress up toy. 
They are not dolls, they are people. 

Which is what I learned during my pregnancy with Calvin. Babies are not accessories. Not sent here just to make us look and feel good. However, I don't see any problem in taking some joy in dressing your kids, as long as it's kept in proper perspective.

And then there were more direct comments like "Omygosh, you have 4 boys??!! I'd rather die!" or "You need a girl". I loved my boys with every ounce of my being and so I took it too much to heart.

Most of the comments were actually from kind people who loved me and honestly didn't mean to hurt me at all. They just weren't thinking. Or I was being too sensitive. 

But on and on it went...until slowly a seed of discontent was planted in my otherwise happy and contented heart.
You are not complete/happy unless you have a girl.

The funny part is...I was always happy with my I'm being told I need a girl. I think I was more hung up on the fact that people felt sorry for me than the fact that I didn't have a girl!!!

What is the disappointed person supposed to do or say when things didn't go their way? 
When they didn't get the gender they were hoping for/expecting?

First of all, I feel compassion for you, I do. Life has disappointments. Everyone in life faces disappointment. It's part of being human. But here are some things that can help you. 

1) I think when you find out disappointing news, it's ok to take a moment and acknowledge it,  to get it out of your system. But then come back from it, ya hear? We've got some work to do!

2) Don't be so sensitive about what people say and think. Don't take it to heart. They just weren't thinking. They aren't giving it another thought so why should you? I can honestly say that I am no longer bothered by people's crazy comments. I smile and move on. I mean, sometimes I make an ornery remark...;) Besides, there are so many kind people to my boys, I am not going to focus on the negative.

3) Don't let the gender of your child become an idol! A few years ago, I read a book that first started to jolt me from all this gender nonsense. I learned about idols.

"Give me this or I'll die" 
or "I need this in order to be happy" is the cry of an idolater. 
Elyse Fitzpatrick, Idols of the Heart.

If I fill in the blank with anything other than God himself, then that is an idol.

Now, there is nothing sinful about wanting a particular gender. But if that is your source of joy and it takes top priority in your life...if you cannot be happy without that gender child...then that is your god.

I think in my case, I was more idolizing people's opinion:

"I need to be  respected and not criticized in order to be happy"

4) Don't live in a barren wasteland of your own making. The person who is only focused on what he wants does not even notice when good things happen to him, because he is so preoccupied on what he thinks he wants( Elyse Fitzpatrick, Idols of the Heart). Something good could bite him on the nose and he wouldn't notice!

What do you notice about the man who trusts in something other than God?
He's never satisfied. 
He's like a thirsty bush in the desert, a bramble in the wilderness. 
What could be more dissatisfying?
Elyse Fitzpatrick, Idols of the Heart.

That was starting to happen to me. I had a GREAT life. I was madly in love with my little boys and my joy was being robbed. Don't let that happen! Such a waste of your life. Don't live in a barren waste land of your own making. Be thankful for what you have.

5. Dig deep to find your life's purpose to rise above our superficial gender obsessed culture.
My purpose is:

to glorify God
to love people
to share his gospel
to please Him. period.

Do any of the above depend on having a child or the gender of your child? No and no! If  He has given you these would please Him if you were thankful, right?

6)Choose joy! Or be miserable. It's up to you. 

Do you want to know one of my secrets of joy? Plan surprises for people and have your little helpers carry it out for you. It can be as simple as a colored card with a little treat inside. Whenever my focus is off of myself, I feel more joyful. 

As for me,  I am not going to let anyone rain on my parade.

March 21, 2013

when you don't get what you were expecting.

No matter where I am, no matter what group of girls I'm with, the same topic of conversation comes up time and time again:

The gender of our children.

Personally I'm starting to think our culture is a tad obsessed with gender.

But as long as the conversation is all in good fun, I don't see the harm.

I get it.

It's fun to talk about. Mostly.

girl names vs boy names.
the clothes.
the hopes and dreams.

I've sat through countless conversations where someone laments that fact that they did not get the gender child they were expecting/wanting.

So. What is this disappointed person supposed to do or think when things didn't go their way?

When I found out I was pregnant, the questions started immediately.

What gender do you want?
Are you going to find out what you are having?
What names do you like?

I decided I did not want to find out what I was having. You see, I LOVE surprises. But honestly? I really just assumed I was going to have a girl.

I come from a family of all girls.
John's older brother had 4 girls. 
John's younger brother had 2 girls.
My older sister had 2 girls at the time(now has 4 girls).
I had no nephews and we were literally surrounded by a sea of girls.

And I really, truly, deeply didn't care what gender I was having. I was just so excited to finally be pregnant and part of the parent club! (when you don't have kids, being a parent seems all the rage)

As a kid, I had always daydreamed about having a long-lost twin brother. The idea just fascinated me. Boys were such a mystery. And I suppose deep down, I secretly was fascinated by the idea of having my own boy child one day. I mean, even my 2 cabbage patch kids were boys: James Bennet and Lincoln Sheldon. Ha. But I shrugged off the thought of having a boy, knowing that OF COURSE I was having a girl. Because that's all I knew.

Her name was to be Elle(Pronounced like the letter "L", as in Elle McPhearson).
And his name, IF he ever transpired, was to be Finn.

My delivery started out great. I quickly dilated to 10cm and pushed. And pushed. And pushed.

For like 3 hours, I kept pushing until I thought I'd drop dead tired from exhaustion. I was shocked at how tiring this was. I had never worked so hard in my entire life. I was amazed at all who had gone before me, doing this.

The dr tried the vacuum...and it failed.

When she mentioned c-section, I was in too much agony to argue. In the OR they asked what gender I was having.

I said "I don't know or care. I just want to go to heaven". Haaa.

They ending up having to knock me out because I felt them cutting.

When I came to, I asked "Is my baby ok? Does it have a disease?" Jeepers Davi. 

They said, "You have a healthy boy!"

A boy? I was elated. Later they handed me the most beautiful bundle I had ever laid eyes on. Never was there a mother so proud. I wanted to show him off to everyone.

Finn was born before people commonly used digital cameras.

And I can't believe I ever did scrapbooking. I thought I liked doing it, because it was "the thing to do". But later on, I realized I hated scrapbooking. Too much work.

Fast forward. I was pregnant again.

My sister nagged me to find out what I was having. Merciless I tell you! She hates surprises.

So we decided to find out.

During the ultrasound, the tech was unusually quiet.

It made me uneasy.

"Is something wrong?", I asked.

She said, "I'll explain everything at the end" in a strange tone of voice.

My heart sank. I knew something was wrong. I gripped John's hand.

After what seemed like forever, she said, "Your baby has a small cyst on his brain. It's a boy. But he looks otherwise fine. This isn't a death wish".

Golly. Isn't a death wish? What was that supposed to mean?

We were told that out baby "might" have a genetic problem or Down's. It was stressful waiting and not knowing what going on.

Over the next few weeks, John and I came to this conclusion: We prayed that we would be the best possible family for this wee baby.

I realized that babies weren't "accessories" to make us look or feel good. Duh, I know. 

And that we shouldn't have babies to make us happy.

It's not about what this baby can do to enhance my life, but what I can do to enhance this baby's life.

At my 30 week ultrasound with the "specialist", I was told that my baby boy's cyst had completely disappeared and that he was completely healthy.  The specialist then told me, "These cysts are very common and 98% of the time are completely harmless and disappear on their own".

It would have been nice if someone told me that sooner. But I learned a lot through this trial.

Due to the fact that I was too narrow to push out Finn, a mere 6 pounder, I ended up having another c-section...and delivered a healthy baby boy. The c-section was rough though. So rough, that when people asked me my baby's name, I just looked at them like "Are you kidding me? I have to name this child? Beat it!"

The next day, I decided to walk on the wild side and use the name that I had a gut-feeling about: Calvin Jack. (There were not many Calvins at the time).  We all fell in love with this squishy baby. Well, Finn disliked him at first. He suggested throwing "Coz-it" in the trash. Ha.

Seriously cracking up from his announcement. Times have changed a lot.

When Calvin was around 14 months old, I was pregnant for the 3rd time.

At 7 weeks along, I started spot bleeding. The ER doc tells me, "Your urine sample came back negative. You aren't pregnant...I'm so sorry. This sucks. We'll do a blood test and ultrasound to make sure".

I felt shocked. Stupid. Embarrassed.

But then I remembered my morning sickness. Surely I couldn't be imagining this whole thing up??!!

A novice tech butchered his way through an ultrasound. He had no idea what he was doing, and couldn't find a heart beat.

I was super bummed.

To be continued. 

March 19, 2013

my dream tee and love-water

I'm a bit picky when it comes to my tees.

I like them well-fitted. I hate when they are boxy and shapeless.

Welp, I think I just found the t-shirt of my dreams.

I literally want to wear this tee So I bought another one in black. It's nice and thick and even helps hide my gut. And it's long enough to cover the back of your jeans when you are bending over to pick up legos.

And the best part? Every tee shirt purchased from provides a family in Africa with clean drinking water for a year. (They did not ask me to do this post, btw.)

In fact, every $1 provides an African clean drinking water for a year. 

Doesn't that boggle your mind? Such a small amount of money can do so much.

Do something, not nothing, comes to mind.

I am a little obsessed with my water. You could say I LOVE WATER. A little while ago I mentioned my love affair with the zero-water filter. Literally the day after buying my fancy zero-water filter, I received a letter from our compassion child, Corliness, in Africa.

Just "hi, how ya doing?". Followed by an interesting survey about his living conditions. Corliness gets his water out of the river. 

It kinda broke my heart a little and made me feel thisbig.

"But what can I do?" I wondered. Even if our government does offer money for water and supplies, the corrupt government of Africa will just take it away. So I justified my thoughts.

In February, I attended a Valentine party at my church. And that is where I learned all about Love-Water. Love-Water provides bio-sand filters to families and provides clean wells for entire communities. Did you know that:

We are in a global water crisis that effects 1.1 billion people?
That it kills more people than all wars combined?
That 3,900 children die each year as a result?
That it's completely preventable?

I think of Corliness. I think of my own boys. I then think of all the kids that don't have clean drinking water. And I shake my head.

Jake, the founder of Love-Water goes to my church. John and I sat behind Jake and his wife Johanna at church a few weeks ago. They appear so "normal" for lack of a better word. Just like you and me. Yet their lives are far from ordinary.

Johanna was the speaker at our Valentine party and she kinda rocked my world a bit.

The reason being, was that she seemed so much like myself. Every word she said I kept thinking "Omygosh. That girl is just like me." Just a normal girl with normal hopes and fears. Initially, she did not want to get on a plane to Africa. Yet God asked her

"Do you love me enough to trust me and obey?"

And so she went on a trip. And helped teach African ladies how to sew. And even adopted a kid! And will most likely continue making trips to Africa for a long time. Jake and Johanna live here. Raise money here. And then go back to Africa to deliver filters and drill wells.  And then come back here and help poor people in our town too.

I am so inspired by her story. By Jake's story. By their passion and zeal to help others in need, in the name of Jesus. And I believe they have a grand old time doing so. They are fun happy people with lots of friends who help them.

And you can help too! If you want to purchase my charcoal-colored "I love water" tee, click here. That particular shirt is out of size small, so click here to buy size small, but in a v-neck. They also have other shirts to choose from. But hurry, while supplies last!

I'm also doing a giveaway! Just enter a comment below and you have a chance at winning a charcoal love water tee(the one I am wearing in the above picture) in size small(v-neck), medium(regular neck) or large(regular neck). The top 3 winners will be selected randomly and announced next Monday, March 25th. First winner gets first pick of sizing, etc...

For extra entries
1. read Jake's story.
2. watch the inspiring video.
3. buy a tee for yourself or your man! I bought one for John:) It's super cute on him. Or donate to the cause!

I was wearing my love water tee the other day at the reading program and a kid there asked me about it. I got to tell this 'poor' kid, from the ghetto mind you,  that there are other kids in other parts of the world that were not so fortunate as himself, to get clean drinking water. Just by wearing your shirt you can spark conversation!

This is exciting to me. Ask God what he would like YOU to do in this global water crisis and in your own neck of the woods. There are so many needs out there and we GET to help bless others. Let's store our treasure in heaven folks! Aren't you tired of the norm? I'm tired of my heart's natural tendency toward self and greed...God is changing me. And I beg that he will continue. 

March 15, 2013

around the house

If you walked into my house, these are the sights you would see.

1. Meet Shelob, the creepy lego spider from Lord of the Rings. My boys think she adds a nice touch to our home decor. I shudder, but always leave her up til they take her down again. I figured, if you can't beat'em, join 'em.

Ollie thought he would weave a web from our blinds.

No lie, but John and I were in our room for one minute discussing our budget and I walk out to find this scenario.

His face was so nonchalant. Like "what?". Finn had dressed him in black so he could be the spider Shelob from Lord of the Rings. It all happened in a matter of minutes.

I had to leave the house for a party and was frantically shouting at John to take care of this mess before Ollie strangled himself. My husband thought I was a lunatic and just stared at me while I shouted and waved my hands wildly. These boys and their father are gonna be the end of me.

2. The weather has been so nice, I thought I'd do some gardening. And by gardening, I mean re-potting my dead cacti. That counts as gardening, right?

This stereotypical cactus with his arm cracked me up. Had to buy him. He's the king of the cacti with his lil crown.

Waving his arm, "hey guys, wait up"

My little sister taught me a trick: keep the cacti in their little plastic containers when you put them in the contain their growth to keep them wee and cute. Dwarf them, if you will.

So I tried it. I noticed it kept them straighter as well.

This is my first time getting a little spiky cactus and I was super excited about it.

Calvin asked if he could change the date ^ each day for 1 penny. I hired him on the spot.

3. Practicing my rainbow drawing on my chalkboard decal. And admiring the resulting chalk dust. Isn't the dust just magical? I'm 100% serious.

And this^should be my theme verse this year. Learning to trust God more. Those who trust in God like a little child will be considered the greatest in the kingdom of God. Thus far in life, I think I would be considered least in the kingdom:( But like I said before, I'm slowly learning.

4. Ollie and Twain's lego creations scattered about the house.

And just so you know. That is MY little mouse that they beg and plead to play with. I've had mousy since I was a young girl.

Why hello frog.

Eavesdropping on their little convo:

Ollie: "Sorry, no frogs allowed! Mouse doesn't want any babies in here!"

Twain: "Why? My frog has no babies."

Ollie: "Is your frog spayed?"

Apparently someone was paying close attention when we recently got Moo and Blue neutered/spayed. I hope it's that easy to explain the bird and bees when they come of age. Our friend Nick in small group just had the "talk" with his son and he said it was hysterical. I'm slightly horrified. I will let John take care of that convo.

5. From another room, I hear BANG! THUD! SQUEAL.

I really don't want to get out of my seat, but I know I must figure out what is going on.

I walk into Finn and Cal's room. Ollie and Twain are chucking their stuffed animals at the hangers, to try to get them to fall down. Clothes scattered all over the floor. Hangers everywhere.

This is honey the kitty. She is very naughty and is responsible for at least 75% of the recent hanger thefts in our home recently.

And what, pray tell, do you boys need these hangers for?

They greatly admire Legolas the elvin warrior from Lord of the Rings, with his bow and arrows. Well, Ollie's name does mean 'elf army'.

Twain's form is not half bad for a little twerp.

Such serious business.

My 2 younger boys are destructive tornadoes these days. Not a moment's rest for this mama. 

March 11, 2013


We traveled to Kingsburg this weekend for John's family reunion. It's a Swedish town ya know.

John's clan is Swedish(Just a few of us pictured--John's immediate family--minus 4 of my nieces).

When we first got married they tried to make me eat pickled herring and there was even talk of Lutefisk. Oi vey!

This weekend I decided to be all touristy. Got out my big ole camera and everything.

I've always been fascinated by Three Crowns Fountain at the park.

The swedish are famous for their fabulously painted dala horses.

I think we should get one for our backyard.

That is a swedish teapot behind Finn.

Meandering the streets. Just hanging out with all these boys was one of the best days I've had in a while.

I love all my little buddies so much. Each day when I say my prayers, I thank the Lord for them. They are precious gifts to me.

And I've decided that boys are not smelly at all.

As they get bigger, we've been having so much fun. I used to dread the day when I didn't have a baby on my arm. But seriously, each phase is full of unique treasures. Like John and I can sleep in on the weekends.

Finn(9) is at a fun age where we can talk and conspire and watch movies together.

And I can still get my baby fix by convincing Tweeds he's still my baby boy. It's kinda pathetic.

The only problem is that one day they are gonna grow up and marry girls that may or may not like me.

And may or may not let me barge into the delivery room just minutes after giving birth. It's tragical, really.

Maybe I can bribe their future wives with red vines. (In my family, the prospective suitors had to bring red vines to get into family. True story).

But I think I'm getting a few steps ahead of myself. What if they don't take a wife?!

For now I will enjoy hogging them all to myself. Well, I will share with their grandmas.