one week with Alden

I had someone ask me about Alden's birth story and it dawned on me that I haven't told anyone really how it all played out. Instead, I have been telling everyone about Alden's Second Day of Life story.

Alden was born after lunch on a Thursday. And we left the hospital after supper on Friday. It was just the three of us back at the farm that night and on Saturday morning our kids were coming to meet Alden for the very first time. We had a family friend offer to come and take pictures of the joyful reunion and so everyone was scheduled to arrive at 10 am. We couldn't wait to see our big three. And they couldn't wait to meet the new baby.
Rory and I were having a very peaceful moment with Alden in the nursery before everyone arrived. We were listening to Andrew Peterson's The Sower's Song, a song that holds lots of special meaning for our family. Rory was sitting in the glider rocker holding Alden and we were thanking God for this little life that had been given to our family. A huge raptor was soaring out the window, dipping down and back up in figure eights, huge and mighty.

After a while Rory asked me to look out the window to see what was attracting the bird. I looked out past the garden, and there in front of the barn was one of our sheep, all four limbs pointed straight in the air.

"Ah, Rory. This is terrible. There is a dead animal in our field."

Rory jumped up, handed me the baby and gasped. It was such a shock. We haven't had to deal with death on our farm yet, in any major way. I said to him, "the kids come in 10 minutes. they can't see that." And then our friend Jenna pulled up our lane with her awesome camera, ready to capture the joy of this epic sibling introduction. I watched her unload her car from the nursery window, while watching Rory struggle to move the huge sheep by the front hoofs. He had gloves on and finally figured out how to drag the heavy animal back behind the pole barn. Moments later he was back washing up, welcoming Jenna and then the kids arrived with Grandma and Grandpa.
At one point during the photo shoot Rory excused himself to go make a quick phone call. The vet thought it sounded like Worms had taken the sheep, and said the other mammals should all be put on a special medicated feed immediately. And that their office closed at noon, and was 30 minutes away.

Rory joined back in the pictures and we got some really fun family shots by the oak tree. And then he asked Jenna if she needed any more shots with him, otherwise he had to run a quick errand.
He took off to get the medicated feed and then spent the afternoon digging a deep hole with the tractor. My next mental picture is when I stood in the nursery window to see what he was up to and watched him heave the sheep into the hole. There was one leg that stood straight up and Rory tried to push it down but it kept popping back up into the air. The hilarity of this moment was not lost on me. I whispered to Alden, "Happy 48-hours. Welcome to the farm."
Thankfully my parents stayed for the day and kept the big three fed and occupied. Rory came in the house later in the afternoon and I asked if he was able to slow down and stay in with us. "Oh no. I have 40 chicks I need to move out to the a-frame coop. They need to be separated from the 10 chicks that will be layers. I won't be able to tell them apart much longer." So he got to work moving chicks and preparing their food and water. At dinner he told of all the sweet peas that had to be picked or they would be lost. I told him of a sweet pea pickle recipe I had seen on a favorite blog and he said, "great. we can do that tonight."

And I mentioned casually for the eleventh time that day, 'hey, remember how I was pushing out a baby just 48 hours ago?'

We got the kids to bed, Rory made pickles, worked on the sheep fence a bit and eventually we fell into bed. Sunday he woke up and got right to work on the sheep fence, a project that seems to have daily needs. Sunday night we held Barn Worship up in the barn, our family's favorite part of the week, and 30 friends from our church showed up! It was wonderful, and in light of the fullness of our life since returning home, it felt totally right.

Monday morning came and Rory's dad went to scope out a used minivan we had found over the weekend. The minivan checked out and around 10:00 Rory took off to go and trade in our jeep for the minivan. He got home at 3, just in time to lock in the baby car seat for Alden's first doctor appointment. We got home, ate dinner and loaded all four kids into their car seats for a family country drive.

Tuesday was the 4th of July and we had six visitors before noon all bringing gifts and meeting Alden. And then we took off for Mimi and Papa's for a day of play at the lake. Wednesday my sister and her girls and my folks came to help get our house ready for friends to stay here while we go to Bible Camp next week. And today is Alden's one week birthday and I haven't done a thing all morning.

With the other kids I have this memory of a really quiet, hibernating week of slowly getting to know each other. But Alden's introduction has been in full motion since he arrived. And thankfully I am feeling great. My own recovery has been the best of the four kids. I have my limits and I have my moments, but overall I have been feeling strong and able. And steady. I am sort of amazed at my own growth with baby #4. I know what to fret over and what not to fret over. I have a confidence from 3 babies before this one. Plus Alden is a sweet and peaceful boy. Obviously that helps immensely too.

Alden, you are a real farm boy. You have been born into an agrarian lifestyle and you arrived during peak season. Come October, we will all settle in for the winter and there will be slow and quiet days then. But for now, you are entering into the thick of it. And it's a fun season to enter into. Thank you for being so flexible.

Love, your also flexible Mama.

so much to say...

I cannot wait to get to start writing about this little boy and his first few days with us. But until that time comes, I have been posting pictures on instagram @thegrovestead.  (Half of which I have already shared here!)

Alden has the sweetest temperament. He sleeps a lot, which is so thoughtful of him. He fills his pants and eats like a champ and he fits right into our family. We got a minivan on Monday and immediately locked four car seats into place and took a country drive. I love that we have such a full ride. Our hearts are so full!

it's a brother!!!

It is my great joy to introduce Alden Ananias Groves, born on Thursday, June 29th at 1:16 pm. Alden was 9 pounds and 3 ounces and 22 inches long. He is darling in every single way.

Alden means "old friend" and that is exactly how it feels to have him in our family. Like a favorite pal has been added to the fold and everyone is just so glad he is here.

Ananias is named after the brave man who the Lord told to go find a blinded Saul on Straight Street. Ananias could hear the voice of the Lord. And even with some hesitation, he is obedient to go right up to the man who was responsible for killing many Christians to tell him of Jesus. Paul went on to lead the church in mighty ways, but I love that there was a faithful, listening, courageous man who the Lord used in a quieter, but hugely important way.

Alden has joined our clan like a champ. I cannot wait to write about our first 48 hours home. It has been so full. The farm is in full swing and nothing has slowed down. He is entering the family like he has always been a part of our pack and I love it so much. Ivar is positively overwhelmed with love for him and the fact that he now has a brother. He told me, "Mom, you need to come see this! It's our first brother bunk bed."

we're still here!

I told my cousin Sarah that we must be a part of the Cozy Womb Club. She carried her babies past the due date as well. My Aunt Diane is in this club and my friend Katie and so are many others. And it is a sincere waiting game. Time is measured in days and nights, because each morning you think, "well this could be it!" And every night you think, "maybe we'll wake up and go to the hospital." Every 12 hours seems to be a new set of possibilities.

The truth is, as I told Rory today, there are so many friends I know who have begged God for one more week or one more day, hoping the baby could grow strong on the inside before it came. So we are fine. The baby is healthy and doing well and tomorrow will be 41 weeks officially. Today we go to the doctor to make a plan to induce. With my whole heart I hope things start naturally, but it will not be for a lack of effort on my part! I have walked stairs, our road, done many things to try to get things moving, but it turns out a mom doesn't have a lot of control over this sort of thing.

But I have heard nonstop stories of how others have gotten their labor started. And been told many things on what I should be doing. Some are well received and others make me feel like I am doing something wrong.

My very favorite though, was my neighbor's daughter who told me that when she was 3, her mom was due with her sister. They had taken the 3 year old to the cousins to play and then picked her up to wait for the baby back at their home. While opening the door for his wife, the dad misjudged her position and opened the door into her belly with enough force that it caused her water to break on the spot! So they turned around, took the 3 year old back to the cousins and went to the hospital.

Something about the slap stick of that moment makes me laugh so hard. What a riot.

So we'll wait and continue to get things done around the house. In a great twist, we have had some wonderful family time this week. Rory is still busy, but he's on baby-mode and has been so present. We have made lots of fun summer memories this week and for that I am so grateful.

And tomorrow we have 50 baby chicks arriving! We didn't see that coming when the due date was a week ago! But this is life, and it's full and it's good.

homeschool lite

(It's Thursday night...still pregnant. Doing squats and going for long walks. At the ultrasound yesterday the ultrasound tech said she hadn't seen a baby at 40 weeks so active. That it clearly has a lot of room still to wiggle. Rory later translated all of her comments to mean: your womb is basically an olympic sized pool and baby isn't feeling any squish to motivate it to get out...)

This summer we are going to try to continue some sort of home school routine on the days that have nothing planned. This is mostly because routine really does help shape a day and with little kids I do like having some sort of rhythm to our time. Even with the baby coming. I know it will have to be flexible, but believe me, this is flexible!

The kids each got a new math book as I have been told that math is most important thing to keep moving forward throughout the summer months, unless you want to review the old content for 2-3 months in the fall. I have so many friends who have commented that it only takes one summer to learn that lesson the hard way and then you decide to do some sort of math over the summer. So the kids each moved up a grade and are so excited about their new books. (staying with Critical Thinking Company for them...Kindergarten for Elsie and 1st Grade for Ivar.)

Then Ivar has to read us a story each day to keep up his reading words. And then we work on a letter in our handwriting books. And that's it. It's low key. It's fun and quick. But it sort of keeps my head in the game. Even if this happens twice a week it feels good. We are signed up for our bank's summer reading program and our library's summer bingo program. Both of those have fun and creative things to add into our days and I am grateful for the creative ideas from both of those programs (reading outside, asking a friend their favorite book and reading it, reading a book about your town...) I know there are some drawbacks to incentive programs, but I'm a fan. Incentive tends to be motivating!

And I still have to say my most enthused pupil is still Hattie who has her own workbook from the dollar tree that she works in diligently. Until she moves on to help her sister...