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Pumpkin Patch!

Pumpkin Patch! Pumpkin Patch! When my mommy told me that daddy was coming home early so we could go to the pumpkin patch, I was so excited! It was all I could think about all day! I even carried around the brochure so that mommy and daddy wouldn’t forget.
When daddy got home, we all dressed up in our ‘county’ clothes and headed for Steed’s Dairy. When we got there, the first thing I saw was the pumpkins! They were so big that I couldn’t even lift them! There were some baby pumpkins too that I really liked.
Then we went to the barn and saw all the animals. Whenever momma or dadda asked me what sound the animals made, I always knew the right answer. I liked the “ewww, pigs” the most. They even tried to dig under the fence to come say hi to me. The big cows were really cool too. I watched them eat, and some of them start walking towards us. I think that the animals really liked me.
Next, I spotted the slides, and I wanted to go down it! It looked like a lot of fun at first, but I thought better of it when I got closer. You can never be too careful around slides, so I decided to jump on the giant pillow instead!
The trampoline at Uncle Troy and Aunt Kathi’s house is fun, but the giant pillow is amazing! I could have jumped on that thing all day long! It was fun to jump with other kids my age, but some of the older kids get a little too rough. I don’t think that they realize that they could hurt themselves if they are not careful. Dadda jumped too high for me and would always make me fall, but jumping with momma was just right! I even tackled dadda when he tried to crawl away from me. The giant pillow was definitely my favorite part.
The hay ride was a little scary at first. I didn’t know where our driver was taking us, but no one else seemed to mind. Then I realized that he was just showing us around the farm, so I was ok with that. We saw trees and fields and cows and birds. It was fun. Oliver even liked it (but he seems to like everything, so I guess that’s not a surprise).
Finally, we had to go home. I got to pick out two baby pumpkins to take home with me! I tried to stall by taking my sweet time picking out the perfect pumpkin, but momma and dadda saw right through my trick. Oh well. They said I have to share one of my pumpkins with Oliver, but I don’t know about that. He doesn’t even know what a pumpkin is yet!
Love,
Elliot Michael Fennema ( I can say my whole name!)

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Oliver Henry Fennema

Oliver was born June 10th, 2010 somewhere between 5 and 7 days past his due date.  What an amazing blessing he has already been.  As many of you know, Elliot ‘s birth was quite traumatic and included 24 hours of labor followed by a C-section and then a one week stay in hotel until we could travel together to our new home in Georgia.  Oliver’s birth was everything opposite.  For the weeks leading to the due date I frequently prayed that I would go into labor naturally and also be able to avoid a C-section.  As Oliver’s due date came and went it seemed induction was a likely possibility.  This truly frightened me as induction increases the chance for cesarean, but Oliver was getting bigger which also decreases the chances of V-BAC  (vaginal birth after cesarean).   After a frank conversation with my OB and lots of prayer we opted for the induction on June 10th ( and lets face it I was oftly tired of being pregnant at 7 days overdue).  We started the oxytocin at 7 AM (this is the same hormone the body releases to make the uterus contract). The doctor had planned to break my water at that same time but he was not able to,  so he advised we just let the oxytocin due its work for a while.    I was bound and determined to wait to have an epidural at least until my labor was progressing well and advancing, that turned out to be slightly poor judgement.  My doctor got tied up with cases which was fine because my water broke on its own at 11AM.  At this point the oxytocin was high dose and was making my contractions much worse than they would be  with out the medication.  I decided to call for the anesthesiologist.   I was unfortunately third in line for an epidural so it took him over an hour to arrive.  In that time I went from 3cm dilated to 9cm dilated, needless to say it was a painful couple of hours.  We don’t have to go into detail here as “ouch”  pretty much sums it up.  After the epidural was in place and working, the first time they checked me my nurse, Sherry, a dear sweet women, said “you are complete – it is time to push.”   I was ecstatic and determined to push with all my might to avoid cesarean.  I pushed for 2 and1/2 hours and Oliver was born at about 3:30PM.    It was one of the most wonderful moments of my life.  He was able to nurse shortly after birth, and Mike cut the cord.  Speaking of Mike, let me just mention that I have the most amazing husband ever who coached me, prayed for me, pushed me to work harder, and as I later found out – cried for me due to pain I was in when he was forced to leave the room during the epidural.

The truth of the this story is that I did nothing, it was all about God.  We had so many people praying for us that day.  I could honestly feel the presence of the Lord in that delivery room.  In my pain I  clung to Isaiah 43 – “I have call you by name, you are mine, for I AM the Lord you God. ”  We give him all the Glory for the birth, and for this perfect little life we now have in our home.

So about Oliver.   He is doing great.  I love Baby Wise ( I truly think it is an owner’s manual for infants).  He is already on a great 3 hour schedule during the day and stretching 4-5 hours at night at 7 days.   It is hard to know what his personality will be like, but according to his desire to leave the uterus I would say he is fairly laid back kid.  His looks on the other hand are strikingly like Elliot’s.  As his mother I honestly have a hard time telling their baby pictures apart!

Thank you all for your prayers.  God is so good, and we are rejoicing in this time of blessing.

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Oliver’s Birth

Growing up

I wrote this a while ago and forgot to post it, but better late than never. It is just amazing to me how much E has continued to change since I wrote this blog about 2 months ago…….

My little boy is growing up. Today, Mike was grilling burgers and told Elliot to take the plate in to Momma and throw away the trash. Note the two-step command – Elliot excuted the command with precision. Probably not that impressive for you non parents but pretty cool for us remembering just 19 months ago when all he did was drool and cry.

Recently, his vocabulary has really picked up including tractor (tra too), bubble,choo choo, book, ga gone, more, shoes, and I love you (i ov u) plus all his first words. Mike left for work last week and said, “Bye Elliot” and in response got “Bye bye dad” – melt my heart.

Here are some pics of our little man helping.

He is such a great helper. He loves to take out the trash and switch the laundry. I am trying to teach him to fold cloths (a task I lothe) but no luck so far.

Blizzard?!

The Blizzard of 2010

Well I didn’t believe it when I heard the forecast (no offense Tim Strong), but it actually happened! Not only is it snowing as I type, but its sticking! When I took Elliot outside and started to pack a snowball, I realized that this was *perfect* snowman snow! With Elliot by my side, we began to roll the snow, and in no time at all, we had our little snowman family! If you look close enough, you can see all 4 of us! (wink, wink)
Since we live on the main drag in our subdivision, a lot of cars have been driving by. Many of them have been stopping, rolling down their windows, and taking pictures…oh Southerners. It’s like they’ve never seen a snowman before or something!
The snow is really heavy, and I’ve had to adjust the snowfamily a couple of times so that the don’t fall over. We shall see if they make it until the morning. Our crepe myrtle trees look like they are are being squashed! We hope that our pear trees make it, but we’re not so sure! We can’t wait until the morning because it doesn’t look like it will be letting up any time soon!
Who wants to have a snowball fight!?

Breads and Beds

Stephanie and I have begun to develop some new hobbies as of late. After Christmas, Stephanie found a mixer and a wheat mill on craigslist for a fraction of the cost. Recently, we have been enjoying homemade bread made. Honestly, it is delicious. I’m not just saying that because she is my wife. It really is good bread, and Elliot likes it too. We also appreciate the fact that we know everything that goes into the recipe.


While Stephanie has been taking up baking, I’ve been spending a little more time in the garage playing with some of my new toys. I am working on building Elliot and his little brother a set of bunk beds. I’m enjoying the project immensely, and I am learning a lot about working with the different tools. You can see my progress so far. I’m excited about being able to tell Elliot and his brother that their daddy built their beds. My goal is to have it completely finished by the time the baby is due!

300 dollar pancakes

For almost the last year I have been looking for a wheat mill and special mixer call the Bosch universal. A wheat mill retails at about $250.00 and the mixer $500.00 or more. Why on earth do I want these things, well I am glad you asked. Once wheat is ground from the original wheat berry it oxidizes very quickly – the short story is the stuff you buy in the store on a shelf has little to no nutritional value left – sad. Most nutrition is gone from the wheat if it is not consumed or frozen within seven days of grinding. The mixer is not totally necessary but lets be honest I don’t see myself kneading bread all day long with an 18 month old and 6 months pregnant. The mixer does the majority of the work and it needs to have jet engine motor to put up with freshly ground wheat.

Last week, I found my wheat mill and mixer for the combined price of 300 dollars on craigs list. You can imagine my delight as this is a huge savings, and I was able to cover the complete cost with Christmas money. Saturday morning I made pancakes using freshly ground soft white wheat (the kind of wheat used for pancakes and pastries versus hard white which is used for bread) and the where amazing. We even made our own syrup from scratch. The initial investment is costly but milling our own wheat will save us money in the long run. I love to pinch pennies but this was actually more about nutrition for me.

10 Money Saving Tips

I have not blogged lately and regret this as I am several post behind. I hope to get caught up this month. As some of you know I stopped working about 2 months ago. Below I have listed some fun frugal ideas. Most of my grocery ideas are from “Miserly Moms,” an amazing book that has allowed us to steadily decrease our grocery budget. I am couponing a little bit, but that is an area I still do not have to a science. I hope some of the below items help you in your money saving endeavors.

1. Replace laundry detergent with 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup baking soda. Buy fabric softener on sale so clothes smell nice and fresh. Honestly, the best smelling laundry I have ever had.
2. Replace dusting products with 1 part olive oil and 2 parts lemon juice. Hydrate your furniture once every 4-8 weeks and wipe down with clean cloth between cleanings.
3. Reduce your water bill by placing a 1/2 gallon jug in the back part of the toilet to displace the water. Also, call your water company to see how they calculate your bill. Ours takes an average of usage from Jan, Feb, and March to create our base payment for the year. We just boycotted water for one of those months to reduce our average.
4. Avoid all convenience items and snacks at the grocery store. For instance, We make our own pancakes, syrup, cookies, and bread. We even received a juicer for Christmas to make our own juice.
5. Make your own Christmas presents – This year we made Bird Feeders, placemats, and Jelly for gift baskets.
6. Get rid of your Cable – lets be honest, what do you really need to watch on TV anyway. We get our favorite shows online or off netflix and Mike gets his sports from ESPN.com
7. Buy in bulk whenever possible. Everyone know this, but I have taken it to the next level. When I find chicken or meat on sale at a loss leader price I buys tons of it. We also use Sams for select items. We have been eating rice from our 15 lbs bag for the last 6 months.
8. Unplug anything that is not in use and turn off lights. We also replaced all of our bulbs with high efficiency bulbs.
9. Reduce hair cut cost by doing it yourself. I have started cutting Mike and Elliots hair and I go to the cosmotology school to get occasional highlights and hair cut.
10. If you don’t have the money for it – Don’t buy it. We have gone to a mostly cash based budget and this has saved us tremendously.

I am still looking for ways to reduce our cell phone bill if any one has suggestions.

I wish I could tell you exactly how much all this has saved us, but I can not. I can tell you though that when I stopped working, on paper it seemed we would go into debt within a month, but with the above changes we have somehow managed to survive and even save money since I stopped work. God continues to provide all of our needs. I have enjoyed learning how to be “that” mom, and hope that I get more miserly with age.