June 30, 2011

36 Weeks

Pass me a paper bag.  I think I am hyperventilating.  And don't ask me why.  But the realization that this baby will be here in a few weeks all of a sudden seems overwhelming.  I am dying to meet her and hold her and kiss those feet that are under my ribs all night, but it's been FOUR years since we had a newborn in the house.  Somehow it seemed like the changes and transitions were easy when you had to extract one from the crib and car seat to move in the next one.  Versus starting over, I mean.  I can't even find a onesie in this house.

I saw a mother the other day lugging around the diaper bag and infant seat and thought, "That will be me soon."  And then in complete shock.  "THAT WILL BE ME SOON!"

And I am wondering what happened to all those things I needed to get done before she arrives?  My school planning for next year... a scrapbook... a quilt... planning our annual vacation and a trip to Disney World... the list goes on and on.  And none of it is done!  Not to mention that my house is a disaster, what with all this resting and napping business going on all the time.  How does nine months pass so quickly?

It's not the diapers or the sleepless nights (we usually have our little ones sleeping through the night when we bring them home or shortly there after) that make me anxious.

It's the changing dynamics in our family.  I go through this every single time.

I am just not a girl who takes well to change.  The thought of a new comforter took me days of deliberation before I could rest easy.

I just like things the way they are.

I like to call it contentment.

Once that baby gets here, I can't ever for the life of me, remember why I had that clenching pain in my chest or how our family ever lived without this little person.  But right now... it's kind of hard to breath.  ☺

And I know baby is getting close because the infant car seat is floating around our house once again.  Elisabeth saw it after her nap the other day and said, "Who's going to sit in there?"  I explained that was the baby car seat and Winnie will sit in there.  "It was yours when you were a baby," I told her.  "I know," she said, "I came in it."

Glad to know she has it all figured out.

Anyway, at 36 weeks we were thrilled for another excellent visit with my specialist on Tuesday.  The Lord has answered so many prayers during this pregnancy.  Number one being able to control my glucose.  It has taken an estimated 3000 (yes you read that right three thousand) needles, lots of hypoglycemic episodes, way more weight gain than I am comfortable mentioning and a very carefully monitored diet over the course but we are seeing great rewards.  As I have mentioned, the doctors continue to report no signs of side effects or any complications that are typical concerns for those with type 2, also know as pre-gestational, diabetes.

In fact, in answer to prayer number 2... One of the most common side effects is a baby that is larger than normal bringing about 2 common complications.  A difficult delivery that usually results in a c-section and/or because of babies advanced size a placenta that can not sustain baby therefor a high rate of still birth after 37 weeks.  We have prayed that baby would stay small and strong allowing me to carry her to term.  As of my check up yesterday, baby weighs an estimated five pounds 9 ounces placing her in the 25th percentile for her gestational age.  That translates to a great size and an answered prayer.

And because of the risk of carrying a baby too large or the increase of loss following 37 weeks, specialists in the area of diabetic obstetrics typically induce labor as standard treatment at 37 weeks.  Our third prayer is that we could carry until term allowing labor to come in God's timing.  Again, the Lord has answered this prayer.  As of yesterday, Dr. H volunteered to allow me to continue until 39 weeks since everything is looking so good and baby is such a great size.

Now, our prayers are this.  That labor would come on naturally before that magical date (July 19th) and  that I would be able to labor and deliver with my OB of choice.  While the other 2 doctors in the practice are competent doctors, Dr. A meets all our criteria with the mentality of a midwife but the credentials of a doctor who can deal with the high risk delivery of a diabetic baby and the possible postpartum complications.

And one more small thing, very small compared to the others, I could use some rest!  With the exception of an odd night here or there, I have not been able to sleep well for the last nine months and I am thoroughly exhausted.  Allen was teasing me the other day when I laid down before lunch and then again after lunch.  Then I had to lie down while dinner was cooking and promptly announced at the end of the meal that I was going to bed.  But that's how tired I really am.  I really don't know what kind of shape my family would be in right now if I didn't have the girls helping out with cleaning, laundry and cooking.

So if it is not too much to ask... would you keep those things in your prayers for the next few weeks?

Last, but not least, here is my mom picture for this Thursday.

Until next week,

Kat and Winnie

June 29, 2011

Is Your Sweetener Making You Fat?

Or  worse... sick?

This post has been on my mind for a very long time.  I have just never had the time to get around to writing it.  The other day, I was writing a little note to my friend Laura on the topic of Splenda  and in the end I realized I had pretty much covered what I wanted to share with you.  So I am reprinting the majority of what I said to her for your reading pleasure.  ☺

I wanted to just caution you on substituting splenda.  I keep saying I need to post about this but just haven't ever had the time to get around to it.


As you know, I have always been a natural foods advocate and a health freak when it comes to eating right, exercising and feeling great.  In 2005 when I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, I began substituting Splenda as a way to have my cake and eat it too.  Knowing that artificial sweeteners still were just that, artificial, I limited myself to one serving of sweet tea with splenda or a dessert a day.  And many days, I would have none.


In 2007, I started suffering from unbearable joint pain and other odd health problems.  I brushed them off as being pregnant and having a new born and went on.  Although, I noted great frustration at the fact that I was watching every bite I ate and exercising at least 1 hour a day 6 days a week and could not lose my baby pounds.  


In February 2008, I gained 15 pounds in less than a months time with no explainable reason.  Again, I figured it was some lark.  I was in the middle of a lot of stuff and thought perhaps I had slacked off on my very strict diabetic diet.  (At that point I still kept a daily journal of my diet and reviewing it a few months later with my health care provider showed that in fact, I should have been losing the remaining weight from Ellie's birth.)


I mentioned it to my health care provider at my annual checkup.  She asked me some questions and came up with a list of symptoms including terrible joint pain that had plagued me for some time.  At that point I was taking medication every day just to be able to get through the pain to exercise.  She suspected that I had developed either a thyroid issue or an auto immune disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.  She ordered tests and we were all shocked that they all came back negative.


Fast forward a few more months.  The pain continued so bad that by the summer after a life time of faithfully exercising almost everyday, I had to give it up completely.  I also started suffering migraines, which I had been free of for years.


Frustrated, I started doing my own research into the what might be the cause, looking from a more natural perspective.


In October, I went to my allergy and asthma specialist for my annual check up.  She noted that my lymph nodes were unusually enlarged with no other signs of sickness that should have caused it.  She sent me to my GP for more testing.  They were now thinking lymphoma and other scary sounding stuff.  Again, all the tests came back negative.


A little more time passed and I was suffering from exhaustion in addition to everything else I mentioned.  My lymph nodes were not improving, in fact, they were getting worse.  And another odd thing happened.  Within a month or six weeks time, I dropped 40 pounds without even trying.


By Christmas, my husband was seriously concerned and dragged me back to the doctor.  The doctor again said it looked like lymphoma.  I insisted they had already tested for that and it was negative.  He said a lot can change in a few months and let's retest.  So we retested.  And guess what... it was negative again.


In fact, my blood pressure, glucose, iron... everything was perfect.   And yet, here I was in less than the perfect health I should have been at 37 years old.


As I continued in my research, I happened upon Jillian Michael's book Master Your Metabolism.  She described her own struggle with sudden and unexplained symptoms and weight gain that she could not control, no matter what.  And here she was a world renowned fitness trainer.  She discussed her visits to the doctor who could find nothing wrong with her.  Also, a health fanatic, she began digging into her diet and exercise and could find just one thing that wasn't pristine.  She drank diet coke on a daily basis.


And guess what, of the 10 symptoms she suffered, I had nine of them also.  I studied my meal and exercise journal for the last few years with great care.  I immediately gave up my Splenda and stopped taking my two allergy medicines.  These were the only two things I could find that didn't not meet the ideal profile of a healthy lifestyle.  


And guess what?  Within months, I was feeling like myself again.  Out in the yard running with the kids, gardening, dancing, walking, exercising... doing all the things I loved, without pain.  My lymph nodes returned to normal over the next 6 months.  I haven't had a migraine since February of 2010.  Until I got pregnant, my weight returned to its ideal with no effort at all.  I sleep great.  (Well, not right now since I get up to go to the ladies room 5 times a night but you get the idea).


So, in regards to switching to artificial sweeteners in an effort to lose or maintain weight or control diabetes, I have found that I would rather eat a little less of the real stuff and feel great than have two cookies made with Splenda.  And actually, I find myself far more satisfied if I just eat the real stuff anyway.  I just make sure I work it into my diabetic meal plan and take my walk afterward to burn off any extra carbs.


I highly recommend Master Your Metabolism by  Jillian Michaels for anyone who is struggling with weight loss or just not feeling great.  My girl friend who was taking all kinds of medicines for cholesterol issues and like me went from always being slender to struggling with her weight read it and started applying the principles Jillian talks about.  (More organics, less chemicals, better sleeping habits...) She, too, found it got her back to where she should have been with her health and weight.


I will leave you with this food for thought... If I was doing so much else right and suffered so many problems from so little, consider the damage to your health for those who are maintaining a less than ideal diet and exercise lifestyle.


Wishing you all good health,

Kat

June 28, 2011

5-7-10

Have you ever have a day that just sticks out in your memory like no other?  Usually, it is a special occasion or a day of great sadness or tragedy.  Maybe a special visitor or outing with the family?  But once in a while, there is a day that seems so ordinary, it somehow becomes extraordinary.

Do you ever reach a certain date and think, "Where was I and what was I doing a year ago?"  Maybe you can not remember at all. Or maybe, you remember in such vivid detail, you can still smell the flowers in bloom and taste the sweetness of the tea.
May 7, 2010 was such a day for me.  I can remember in minute detail every moment of that day.  It was one of those perfect spring days where the air is neither too warm or too cold.  The sun was shining.  The grass has just turned green.  The Iris's were all in full bloom.
I love Iris's.  For one thing, even though we have tulips, daffodils and crocus that bloom earlier in the season, it is the irises that are blooming in all their glory when the weather first turns nice enough to venture out doors, put on our gardening gloves and enjoy the earth the Lord has given to us.
This particular day, was the end of a long week away from my hubby, while he was on business in Texas.  I eagerly looked forward to his return with the joy and anticipation of our youthful days together.  I sang as I went about the weekly business of changing linens and considered what I would fix for our midnight dinner together.
Our friends had left their children with us for the day and I can still hear the giggles of their four and all my youngers coming in the windows as they were swinging on the play ground and digging in the sand box.

It was the beginning of Mother's Day weekend and I recall hunting for the perfect pink ribbon for my step mother's gift.

The girls and I spent the afternoon at the kitchen table addressing envelopes for Kaitlin's upcoming high school graduation.
Everything seemed fresh and new and just about to happen.  What a perfectly extraordinary, ordinary day.


"This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.  It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.  The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.  The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him."  Lamentations 3:21-25

June 27, 2011

An Earthquake~By Brianna

Both of our girls are very interested in video production and have been toying around with it for a number of years.  In fact, for the last 9 months they have both been working on separate projects with a couple of other young people we know that will hopefully both be going to production soon.  With the help of a more experienced director they have taken their projects from concept and will follow through to distribution.  Both projects are to be used as ministry and outreach tools.

After the Japan Earthquake, Allen gave Brianna a school assignment to create a video that summarized the events for her younger siblings who, with no access to newspaper, internet or television, didn't really understand the impact.  She came up with, what I think, is an amazing video.

Since videos seem to be my theme this week, I thought I'd share it here.  Be forewarned you will be stirred to go reach out to lost souls and share their only hope of salvation.  If you aren't prepared to reach the world.  Don't click the play button.

Japan Earthquake 2011 from Näna on Vimeo.

June 26, 2011

Ten Minute Manicure

I love, love, love this product.  Last year I picked this up for Elisabeth, who loves to have her nails polished, but hates to wait for them to dry.

When we were on vacation I ran out of my favorite color and how can a woman walk barefoot on the beach for three weeks with no nail polish?  So I used Ellie's.  And guess what?  It really does dry almost instantly.

I have always been an OPI girl when it comes to nail color.  But I must admit that in my attempt to have a quick manicure, I have tried many quick dry nail polishes.  But after one use they quickly get tossed into the linen closet.  Quick dry or not, they chip as quick as they dry.

But not this one.  I have had it stand up to 5 days of motherhood at a time before I have to redo.  And the best part is, the redo only takes 5 or 10 minutes.

Years ago, I abandoned keeping my fingernails manicured.  As much as I loved freshly polish nails, I didn't have all that time to devote to waiting for my color to dry, only to have it washed off with the the dinner dishes.  However, when I can polish my nails and let them dry while I read my morning study... well, that's efficient!

For the first time since Emma was a baby, I find I keep my fingers polished more often than not.  The only down side?  Because it is quick dry, it does gunk up in the bottle rather quickly.  But at just a couple of dollars a bottle... who cares?

Oh, and in case I didn't mention it... they have some absolutely fabulous colors.  Check out some of my favorites like Mauve It, Presto Pink, Snappy Sorbet, Lively Lilac, Racey Rouge, Rapid Red, Expresso, and Slick Slate.

June 25, 2011

Family Photo Shoot 2011

In case you had not noticed, and how could you not????, Brianna has been at it again remaking my blog into something new and fun and WONDERFUL.  She was inspired by some new photos... in case you missed those on my side bar.

Last week, my very talented friend and photographer, Susan, spent an evening with our family in a local park to put together our family's annual photo shoot.  Each year her work becomes more amazing... and with this goofy crew she has to work with, that is no small feat!

Brianna put it all together in a video that will eventually become part of our families end of year video review and I think it came out rather fun.  Kick back with some coffee and have a peek, if you feel so inclined.

To check out some more of Susan's work you can pop over to her photography blog at Just Photos.
Thanks Susan for another amazing job!

Photo Shoot 2011 from Näna on Vimeo.

June 24, 2011

Radiance Week 2



Well, Brianna, my lovely daughter over at By the Way, has put up the week 2 challenge question for Radiance. If you missed week 1, you missed an incredible blessing... and a lovely prize. I sure wish I could be entered into the drawing because week 2 has some adorable little prizes to choose from. You can click on the button above to check it out.

The question for this week is:
What, to you, is the most essential thing to maintaining your relationship with the Lord?

Now I am sure everyone, who has been studying their Bible for any length of time, will say daily time in prayer and in the Word. And this is definitely number one in maintaining my relationship with the Lord. The days I half heartily do these things or don't do them first thing, turn into bad days very quickly. However, since I figured that was going to be the majority answer, I spent some time thinking about what else is essential to maintaining and growing my relationship with the Lord.


  1. Living It.  Making a conscious and constant effort to live out what I read in the Word and what the Lord impresses on my heart.  Least you think I have mastered this, do not be deceived.  I fail on a daily basis.  Yet, each morning, before I open my eyes, I ask the Lord again to give me His mercy and grace to live the day ahead as He would have me to do.  
  2. Sharing my faith.  As I seek out opportunities to pass my faith on to others through outreach and ministry my faith is grown and my relationship with Him grows stronger.
  3. Teaching it.  It has long been known that the best way to learn anything is to teach it to others.  So I daily ask the Lord for opportunities to teach others what He has shown me.  He has been faithful to give me those teaching moments with my children, through discipling other ladies, teaching others in our church, in my community, through this blog, with strangers and through many other capacities.  And truly, through teaching others, I have learned more than I thought possible and in each opportunity I feel I have grown closer to Him.
So what about you?  What is the most essential element in maintaining your relationship with the Lord?  Post about it, and then pop over to Brianna's blog to link up and read what others have to say.  Perhaps, you will gain another perspective to help you develop an even richer connection with our Savior.

Looking forward to reading your responses,

Kat

June 21, 2011

Balloons

Don't you love balloons? 
    I sure do.
Even my big kids still get excited about them.
Periodically, sometimes for a special occasion, and sometimes for no reason at all, we go to the party store and each get a balloon.
One Saturday in May, after a hard day's work, we went for ice cream and balloons.  
A few days later, the sun was out and the weather was fabulous and we spent the morning playing outdoors with balloons and my camera.
We took hundreds of photos between the lot of us.
We were really stretching our minds trying to think of different ways you can photograph a bunch of kids with balloons.
There was a little breeze that made it challenging and fun.
Of course, sometimes keeping Ellie in one place for any length of time can be both fun and challenging, too.
I love, love, love, the shadows in this one.
We had to take a break when the UPS man pulled up.  
But don't worry, they all came back.
Good thing the shed was there, or they would have all gone over the side.
Just teasing.
We played around a bit more
and I thought a bit about balloons.
I remember when I was in grade school, 
we launched balloons with our names and addresses attached to the string.
What a magnificent sight that was.
Three hundred balloons, all soaring into the blue sky at the same time.
Of course, these days there is likely some environmental act which makes things like that illegal.
I love the story of Eeyore and the balloon.
I can't hear a balloon pop or see a spent balloon without thinking of that balloon and useful pot.  For a pessimist  that was such an optimistic way to look at the whole thing.
So everything was going along beautifully, until Ellie got tangled up in her strings.
And while she was trying to get untangled, a beautiful pink and a peaceful white balloon took off into the sky.
She was beside herself in a way, I'd never seen before.  Completely inconsolable.
Until we told her the balloons were going up into the heavens.  "With Gussie," she said.  And how can you argue with that?  She began to giggle with sheer delight.
After a few weeks,  most three year olds would have forgotten those balloons.
But not Elisabeth.
This week my friend's baby went to be with Jesus.  
When we explained it to the kids, Ellie said, "She got a ladder and jumped up and grabbed the string on Gussie's balloon to go up to Heaven."
And how can you argue with that?

June 19, 2011

Father's Day Tribute

We have a young man in our church who put together this presentation for Father's Day.  Thanks, Josh, for the time you put into making the day a little more special for our leaders!





June 17, 2011

Has Anyone Else...

...discovered these?
 In the eggs the kids hunted on Easter we had put miniature snickers.  One afternoon, we were having our tea and reading our Bibles as the kids were snacking on the candy leftover.  I ate one of those tiny  candies and the peanuts and chocolate hit the spot.  I ate two more.

The children got such a kick out of that.  I almost NEVER eat candy.  And if I do, it is never any old any day candy.  And it MUST be dark chocolate.  So for me to sit and eat three pieces in a row, well, they thought it was just hysterical.

Someone said, "Winnie must really like Snickers."  I said, "No, they are just okay.  But if they were dark chocolate, she would love them."  Well, before I could say, "Snickers," someone had gone on line to discover there was a dark chocolate version and set out on a quest to find one.  It wasn't long before sitting in the basket in my kitchen were three of them.

Of course, by then, the craving had passed.  Until one night, when I had a hypoglycemic episode around 2am.  I wandered out to the kitchen to find something to bring my sugar back up to a safe level.  And what should be staring at me but those candy bars.  After inhaling it, I sat on the bar stool by the island waiting to feel stable again before I headed back to bed.

Twenty minutes passes slowly in the middle of the night when you really want to go back to sleep.  I played with the wrapper a while, smoothing it out and balling it up and smoothing it out again.  Then I actually saw the back.
How did they know?

June 16, 2011

Don't Read This... Pa That Means YOU!

The kids have been working on a Father's Day gift for a number of weeks now.

Trying to do anything around here, without everyone knowing what you are doing, is near impossible.  A surprise for Pa is the hardest of all. Normally, he wouldn't notice an elephant in the living room, but try and do something without him knowing about it... He is so bad about trying to find out what is going on.

And this one has been particularly trying.  One glitch after another has made it so frustrating!  This gift involved trips to the hardware store, some building and painting.  All of which make it even more a challenge. When you have nine people in 1800 square feet where do you hide something BIG while the paint dries without Pa noticing?  We thought we had it, when we took the project behind the barn to paint it.  And we almost made it.  For more than a week it completely passed his notice.  Until last night, when we were working in the garden and he said, "There's red paint all over the trees back there."  And what does a wife say to not betray her little elves?  "Really?"

Then there is this last little thing.  All that sawing and cutting and screw driving... The boys are the only ones who know how to use power tools and they aren't allowed to use them without Pa.

I sure wasn't going to try it.  Power tools scare me.  I've seen too  many cut off fingers from just such a thing.  We did spend a lot of time trying to cut this lattice by hand with every saw we could find.

And here we are the last day that Pa will be away from home before the big day.  It had to get done.  With time running short, we had to turn to desperate measures.  And with rain on the horizon, we had to do it in my kitchen.

So here I present you with Mama's picture for the week.
And that was enough of power tools to last me a lifetime.  My arms are still vibrating an hour later.  So with Father's Day in our near future, I want to be the first one to say, "Thank God for men who know the ins and outs of power tools and have the muscles to handle them.

Until Next Week,

Kat

June 15, 2011

The Great Baby Poll


From the time we first announce the coming arrival of a new little one, questions start pouring in by the bucket load. Boy of girl? What are you going to name him/her? When are you due? Just to name a few of the most common. Problem is we don't know the answers to any of these questions! (With the exception of the due date...we just don't know the exact time). If we really wanted to know the sex, we could, but what is the fun in that? Not knowing gives you a sense of anticipation and a really big surprise to look forward to!

Since Winnie was officially announced it has been the same thing. I (Näna) have spent the past seven months trying to come up with creative ways to tell people that we really have no idea whatsoever. :)

When Mom was pregnant with Sammy we started the "tradition" of polling friends, family and everyone on what gender they thought he would be, what the baby would be named, and when he would be born. It was so much fun that we did it again when Mom was pregnant with Ellie. Now, with Winnie arriving in just a few short weeks, we would like to invite you, our cyber friends, to join in the poll. Click here to let us know what you think! When will he/she be born? What gender will Winnie be? What will baby be named?

Some things you may want to keep in mind:

  1. We do not know the sex
  2. Mom is due July 29th
  3. Because Mom is diabetic her doctors will not likely let her go past 39 weeks
  4. Penelope and Gwendolyn are two names that justify patricide. (no offence to any Gwendolyns or Penelopes)

To add even more fun we have an award for the person in each category who guesses the closest. Fun, right?

For the young ladies (aka. By the Way followers) we have a copy of Leslie Ludy's amazing book Authentic Beauty. We have both read this book and agree that it is one of the best ever. A wonderful tool that is geared more toward younger people but really is great for women of all ages.
Adult ladies (aka. readers of Art's Chili) for the winner in this category we have an UltraSlim bible from Thomas Nelson. Both of us use one of these Bibles for our main Bible. They are small and portable while (and at the same time) the text is large enough that you can actually read it, something very hard to find in a compact Bible. The winner can choose one of the following:
note: all come in KJV
Again go on over here to enter! This is going to be a blast, don't you think? If not, do it for us. Or for Winnie. She's even cuter. See:

Can't wait to read your entries!

Lots of love,
CP & Näna

June 14, 2011

Getting Ready For Winnie

When we have a baby on the way, people always tell me how jealous the youngest one will be when the new one arrives.  Moms talk of how their children were so jealous of their newborn and how the older children had a hard time adjusting to the new baby.  This has never been our experience.  Our children have always welcomed the newest Wachter with wide open arms and hearts.  I think it is all in how you present it and in the attitude mom and dad have towards the situation.

Our young ladies are all eagerly counting the minutes and days until Winnie's arrival.  There is even a little outfit tucked away for her to wear... and we don't even know if she is a girl or a boy.  The boys are constantly kissing and rubbing my tummy and asking how is their Winnie doing.  Everyone talks of Winnie doing this with us and Winnie doing that.  The girls have begged their Pa to let them come for the delivery.  Everyone wants to be the first to hold her.  Everyone has offered suggestions as to what her name should be.

And all this enthusiasm has certainly rubbed off on little Elisabeth.  I must admit, with almost a four year spread, I briefly wondered how our little princess would take to a new person in the house.  However, the day she brought her favorite nightgown to me, laid it over my big belly and said, "It fits!"  (Then continuing to tell me she was putting it in her drawer so Winnie could wear it when she was born) I knew my thoughts were wasted time.  

For quite some time, she has been asking if Winnie could sleep in her butterfly bed.  When I asked where she would sleep, Ellie happily said, "I will sleep on the floor."  Over time we subtly slipped in the concept that Winnie would sleep in the nursery.  Elisabeth conceded this was a swell idea and for weeks has been asking when we could put Winnie's bed together.  She meant put the rail back on to turn the day bed, where the kids curl up to read, back into a crib.  Every day she has asked Pa when they could do this.  She was so excited to make a place for her Winnie.

When an unexpected thunderstorm came last night, turning our evening outdoors into an evening indoors, Pa decided it was just the perfect time.  Together the two of them dragged the rail out and gathered a tool or two and went to work.  Ellie's tool of choice was a wooden ruler which she decorated with ladybugs.  
I took a seat in the rocking chair to observe the action.  As I sat there, I was remembering the newborns we brought home to this sunny little corner of house.  That's when it occurred to me that it was exactly six years ago to the very night when we had finished the final touches on the nursery.  It used to be a garage.  Six years ago, on a very rainy night, as the paint finished drying, Allen and I moved the furniture in, dressed the bed with linens and hung the curtains in preparation for Samuel's arrival.  Not a minute too soon, either.  The next morning I woke up in labor.  

Back to last night, though.  Watching our baby's excitement was so heartwarming.  Off came the linens.
Out came the drawer.  While Pa made a few minor repairs to the springs, Ellie got a bucket of water and washed the drawer.  
Incidentally, do you all remember the pet lady bug?  While she was washing, Ellie let out a happy little shriek and said, "I found my lady bug!"  I asked her if she was still alive.  She said, "Yeah!"  Very convincingly, too.  Then she went on to explain, "She doesn't have any wings or legs, though."  In case you were wondering, she was very much dead.

Once the drawer was washed to her satisfaction, Elisabeth went to my closet and got the bag where we've been collecting Winnie items and neatly arranged them in the drawer.  A package of diapers, a blanket from a friend, the $60 dress from her sister, and yes, the beloved purple nightgown.  
Then she ran to her room and gathered up her sheet and comforter and blanket to make the bed up.  
She checked to make sure Pa did everything just right.  
In went two snuggling bears.  Ellie explained one was her and the littlest one was Winnie.  Last but not least, in went Charlotte, her beloved pig.
Then she looked at me and asked, "Can Winnie pop out tomorrow?"