Baby News....

 Monday afternoon I felt it strange when Craig said to remember our bag as we headed out for my NST appointment. "But Craig, it's just a quick appointment to make sure baby is doing well!" "Just bring it." And so that's where we start.... We headed to the doctor's office for our scheduled non-stress test for baby. I wasn't in labor even though I was 42 weeks along, but I did have a couple of contractions. After one especially long one, baby's heart rate dropped considerably. This caused concern with the nurse and she asked the doc what he wanted us to do. So, we headed over to labor and delivery for a more detailed monitoring and ultra sound. Baby continued to not look so good. The ultra sound revealed a deteriorating placenta with very little amniotic fluid and not much movement of the baby at all. The doctor came in with concern on his face as he brought the results to us. With such distress showing up after every tiny contraction, we were all worried what affects real labor with intense contractions would do. A c-section was very likely. They gave me a bag of fluids and baby seemed to perk up a bit. Enough that the dr. seemed very optimistic about a natural delivery!.....
Mommy meeting Tirzah while still in surgery

Several hours passed and baby's activity and heart rate made a turn for the worse. Baby seemed to like it when I was put on oxygen, but again we were faced with the danger of intense contractions should I go into labor- which of course was what needed to happen. Craig and I felt at complete peace with the decision to go ahead and go straight into a c-section rather than risk labor and eventual emergency c-section. I was wheeled into the operating room at 5:30 am for an epidural (the anesthesia that would be safest for baby's heart) I have never had one before and let me tell you....I would never ask for one! Ugh! I will admit that I was very nervous about the procedure but I knew I was in great hands! With Dr. Christen and Dr. Caulkins doing the surgery, we had a great team. There was a pediatrician there to take care of baby as soon as the delivery took place. At 6:22 am, our sweet little Tirzah Hope was born! She weighed in at 7 lbs 14 oz and was 20.5 inches long. A small one for the Houston family. We are so thankful for the wisdom of doctors who really care for their patients and for the technology to find out when something is wrong. By every appearance, our dear little one was at least 42 weeks, she may actually have really been "due" on her original date of November 4- putting her at 43 weeks and 1 day. We are rejoicing in a beautiful and healthy baby girl!!

Tirzah means delightful, pleasant, beautiful and is in the Old Testament of the Bible 18 times!
Hope to place trust, to believe

Happy birthday little one!

"Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners." Song of Solomon 6;4

Day +200....Results!

Anna guessing we heard something
It is so hard to believe that today is day +200!!! We were just waiting eagerly for day +100 for her to be released from care in Seattle. Today we were waiting with anticipation for a phone call from Anna's doctor to let us know if they had results back from SCCA on her bone marrow aspirate from last week. We didn't hear, and didn't hear, so Craig called and left a message. He then called SCCA and tried with them with no answers. Then the call came. Dr. Irwin gave us the numbers.... the results of Anna's tests were 0.00000%!!!!!!!! Anna is cancer FREE!!!!! We praise the Lord for such amazing news that only God could give! We had Anna come into my hospital room to share the news with her as I wanted to be there to see her it is:
Daddy telling her the number

Rejoicing in her Daddy's arms

We all cried and rejoiced together!

Snapshot Update

Yes, you have read the baby ticker correctly folks! I am almost 42 weeks pregnant with baby number 12! This is no surprise to us as this is the way it goes for the Houston family. And that being said, I finally decided tonight that I should probably go ahead and get a bag packed "just in case". I know, normal people (ahem) would have had their bags ready at 37 weeks.....I just know this would be a lesson in futility. So, my bag is finally ready, a boy outfit is packed and a girl outfit. Now to get me ready! I am truly hoping to go into labor very soon I mean BEFORE Thanksgiving. I'd rather not be in the hospital while my family gathers around our beautiful table to take the time to remember to be thankful for all things. Besides, Naomi and Anna both want to be at the delivery and they are the cooks!!

This past week Anna had her six month bone marrow aspirate. Her doctor has said if he hasn't heard back on results from SCCA by Tuesday, he will pester them until they tell us. =) We are praying for no cancer, of course.

So, stay tuned everyone, this week promises all kinds of announcements!!!!!!

Because Life Hasn't Been Exciting Enough.....

After celebrating one of our many November birthdays on Thursday, Craig and I left for a board meeting/retreat near the Hood Canal. We had no cell phone reception and no internet access. Saturday evening we arrived home to find Anna in not-so-good shape. She was in pain and her abdomen was a bit swollen. I was so exhausted that I just couldn't think of what could be going on with her so I asked her if she had taken any pain meds and we all went to bed. Sunday brought no relief to Anna. She was a trooper however and even still sung in the choir! She kept clinging to her side......her right side. Upon coming home, Craig called the on call doctor with her oncologist's office. It just so happened to be Dr. Irwin...Anna's doctor! He recommended immediately taking her to Mary Bridge Children's ER to rule out acute appendicitis. just so happened that the ultra sound revealed that was exactly what was going on with her. The surgeon had left for the night but when he heard that it was confirmed, he turned around and called a team together for an emergency surgery. Normal people would've had to wait until Monday morning, but with Anna's special needs, they felt it vital to take her to surgery right away. I missed seeing her before she went in, but was able to be there with her and Craig over night. The surgeon informed us that the surgery went very well, her appendix was definitely inflamed though had NOT ruptured! Praise the Lord! There was some infection around the appendix but they were able to clean it up. She was given a high dose of steroids as her body doesn't produce enough on it's own to help fight off infection, and high dose antibiotics. He then told us that immune suppressed patients just do NOT get appendicitis and she had just blown their theory out of the window!

Anna is now doing well though she is in much pain. It is the plan for her to get to come home on Tuesday. Please pray that she recovers quickly. Her bone marrow aspirate was scheduled to take place Wednesday early morning and now has been post-poned until the following week.....unless we are having a baby of course! Life just doesn't seem to want to slow down one bit!

The Blessing of Home Education

One of the glories of home education is finding curriculum that works best for your students! I am thankful for the opportunities to get to explore the many options available. Recently I discovered this Primer for beginner readers. I LOVE it! I have had several students who have struggled with learning to read and this is a very helpful tool for those students and one busy mama! It explains each lesson plan with specific detail so all you as the teacher have to do, is teach!

Lydia and Abigail both proudly display their cursive handwriting! Abigail is just learning to read these words while Lydia is reviewing and making great leaps of growth in her reading! Lydia recently read two whole verses out of 1 Samuel chapter 8! We are so proud of them!
Below, Julia shows off a flower she made during science. We use the Apologia curriculum for science and it is filled with all kinds of fun projects for the students to do. We enjoy these as they help solidify and bring to life the lessons they have learned. This is just a sample of what we do each day. I am blessed to be able to keep my children home and teach them the fundamentals so they will be prepared for life as adults! It is so rewarding to look at these munchkins and know that you are the one who taught them to read so that they can, in turn, learn ANYTHING! I love to watch their minds grow each and every day. And I especially love to know that they are learning things that will honor God as we get to focus on character building as well as "the three R's"!

A Thought For the Day

When my husband is here we are in a specific book of the Bible, however, when he is out of town we step aside and read from the Psalms or Proverbs. Last night we read from Proverbs 31 and this is the verse that was discussed: Proverbs 31:31 "Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates." (emphasis mine)

I've been thinking on this for several days but the thought was well articulated last night during the discussion time of our family devotions......

Lookie at What I did! I did it for you, aren't I wonderful?
* "and let her own works praise her in the gates." Think about it. When we as humans do something, we have the tendency to want to proclaim it to all that are around us. We want praise, we want recognition, we are special, we did this for someone as any godly, selfless person ought to! The problem is the focus. We become so focused on ourself and our need for recognition, a thank you, a praise, someone to notice, that we lose the blessing of doing it as unto the Lord. When our focus is on self, it is most definitely NOT on Christ where it ought to be! When we crave recognition so badly, whether we think it comes from insecurities of the past, the truth of the matter is that it is complete and absolute PRIDE. We feel the "need" to be lifted up for as many to see as possible. This reeks in the nostrils of God. Some may be silent about this, always feeling down on the inside because nobody seems to have noticed what they did, while others are vocal about it, going around asking people if they have noticed what they did and if they liked it. Both are sinful. The silent person is just as prideful as the obnoxiously self recognizing person. While I think it is more obvious to detect what is wrong with the loud, it may be harder to see what is wrong with the silent. The silent "sufferer" will fill with bitterness in the dwelling place of their mind and heart, the open person is filling the ears of others with their own praise. Proverbs 27:2 says, "Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips."

...if they would only recognize what I've done!
When we do things for the praise of man, we dishonor our Creator. We make self our idol. 1Corinthians 10:31 says, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." .......To the GLORY of GOD. That means all that we do should be done for God's glory, not our own glory, not for us to be recognized and praised.

I am an amazing person, I do so much for others!
Is it wrong if someone chooses, of their own will, to recognize you or praise you for something you've done? Absolutely not! If this is done without your nudging, consider it a gift, a blessing! But if not, count it as done unto the Lord and move on. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather hear from the one who saved me, "well done good and faithful servant" as I enter the gates and He sees my works and the fruit of my hands than to hear a thousand thank you's here on earth.

We are all guilty of the sin of pride. The desire to be recognized, praised, thanked. Whether you are the silent "sufferer" or the loud, self praising, may we all strive to see this sin in ourself and pray that we can overcome it with the help of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

"He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30

Lord, help me die to self and glorify you as you only are worthy of praise