Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy birthday, Noah Christopher!!!




On November 30th, at 12:24pm, our baby boy arrived!!! We named him Noah Christopher. He weighed 9 pounds and 4 ounces and was 21 3/4 in long. He is absolutely perfect and we can't help but just stare and snuggle. I am totally in love!

For the first week, Noah and I didn't sleep much. Well, actually, I didn't sleep much. Noah seemed to sleep all the time if he was nursing or being held by someone (mainly me). He is now, at 2 weeks, stretching out his awake and sleep time. FINALLY he will sleep laying in his bassinet. His awake times are brief, but precious. I love his sweet little wide eye look. They don't last long though. He will either fall asleep or start crying within just a few minutes. I also know to anticipate a cranky time in the evening already. It is funny how much of caring for him seems brand new. You would think I was a first time mom instead of a mom of 5! How quickly I forgot!

We are loving this new life with Noah. This is an adventure we are excited to begin!!! (Now, I just need to figure out how to take showers, brush my teeth, and get dishes done. My minutes are so few, I never know which way to run.)






Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mom Heart Conference!!!!

Start planning now, moms! Feb. 26-27th, in Dallas/Ft.Worth is the Mom Heart Conference with Sally Clarkson!!! This year it is all about renewing ourselves in God and our calling to motherhood. Every year, it is a wonderful time to get away with the girls, have lots of fun, eat good food, and learn a TON! We return re energized, and refocused so that we can love on our families as God intended, not as worn out shells of women. Don't miss out! Visit the web site below and register. The earlier you register, the less the conference will cost you!!! See you there!!!

http://wholeheart.typepad.com/itakejoy/2009/10/you-renewed-mom-heart-conferences-2009-1.html

http://www.wholeheart.org/wheventdetail.php?eventid=34

Monday, October 5, 2009

Potty Training Complete!!!

I think anyway! Kaiden hasn't had any accidents at nap or night time in quite a while now. He is doing GREAT!!! So, until this new baby needs to train, I am done for a while! Yea, Kaiden!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

pee!

Last two days have had accidents at nap time, but he is still doing good at night. Go figure!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Small set back.

Well, Kaiden WAS doing really well. Yesterday, I thought I was fed up with poop, dog poop. Today, it was my 3 year old. I don't know what he was thinking, except that I told him to NOT come out again from nap time. oops. He started out in trouble because he was throwing a fit about going down for a nap. So, he was told not to come out again. Could that have been it? Was it actually all my fault? Was he NOW deciding to be extra obedient?

He came out of the room soaking wet. He had on winter pj's, so I couldn't tell anymore. Up in the room, though, I found a soaked bed, a pee puddle on the carpet, a big ball of poop on the carpet, and poop smudges all over the carpet! So, IF he just had an accident, why wasn't it all in the bed? He had to have also stood up and deliberately peed on the carpet for there to be a big spot like that. He also dropped his poop across the room and then obviously continued, unbothered, to play with some toys. Bathing him was GROSS!!!! So was cleaning all the carpet spots. YUCK!!!

We had a very strong talking to about that he was to ONLY come out to go potty, and that he MUST come out to go potty. POOP AND PEE ONLY GO IN THE POTTY!!! You get the drift. I really hope this sort of thing doesn't happen again. I don't think my pregnant body, stomach, etc. can handle a lot more of these unpleasant smells and jobs that I have been blessed to clean up lately.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Adoption....

Okay, I realize that I am 29 1/2 weeks pregnant with my 5th child, but God is still working on my heart about adoption. I have just spent some time on an agency's web site for international adoption. This was, once again, VERY frustrating for me. Most countries will not consider us if we have more than four children, including the adopted child. We are already on our fifth. If they don't have a number requirement, then they require $10,000 in income per person in the home including the adopted child. PLUS!!! It would cost up to $40,000 to go through the whole process!!!

I don't know what God want to use me for. All I know is that I just cry for the children who are just waiting somewhere, their only dream a forever family. I am so angry!!! REALLY ANGRY!!! Chris and I want to give anyone from anywhere a home that needs one, and it seems impossible! I don't know if I am going to have a house full of children or maybe just make a difference in how the system is run. Either way, I am praying that God uses me to make it easier for children to find a home with loving parents.

Night time potty training

Kaiden is doing REALLY well!!! He has gone through three naps and two nights without an accident! I guess waiting a long time might be the way to go! It is a little more expensive because of the diapers, but soooo much less heart ache! Way to go, Kaiden!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The last phase of potty training...

Well, we ran out of diapers. The previous two times we ran out, I gave in and bought some more. This time, I have no choice. My 3 yr old has been potty trained for a while now, but not while sleeping. Although, he does usually wake up with a dry diaper. So, I don't know if he will wake up and go, but I do know he can hold it all night.

He did great at nap time today, but now we are about to go to bed. I have a terrible cold right now and am 7 months pregnant, so I am REALLY hoping to make it through the night. We will see what happens! It will be nice to not have diapers for a while before the baby comes. Of course diapers are a lot easier than tons of laundry, so I am hoping and praying this goes well and quickly.

Here we go! Night number 1!!!!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Update on fits:

I just wanted to let you know that the last two days have been DRASTICALLY different. Chris had a talk with my 5 yr old and all has been okay since. Chris just reminds him in the morning that he is to obey me and not throw fits for me. Apparently that is all it took! Just some guy time. We hadn't tried this because with Chris's current schedule, he is usually coming in at bedtime or after. So, there just hadn't been an opportunity. My sweet little boy is back and handling disappointment MUCH better! Who knows what was the cause. We probably will never know.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Where we are now....

It has been a really long time since I have had any desire to blog. I blame the pregnancy.

We are about to begin our third week of school. I have been VERY pleased with how we are doing! Last year I struggled and struggled. I just couldn't seem to get a flow going. We got the main things done, but very few of the cool things that make me excited to home school. This year, we are getting EVERYTHING in!! Plus, I have added a student and a half. Kevin just started kindergarten and Kaiden is doing some preschool play and simple lessons. The girls do most things together now and just have different levels required of them.

The very best thing about having several kids and homeschooling is all the work that God does on me during the process. I have learned (and continue to learn) many lessons. I know that God's mercies are new every morning! I know that life is work and that I am not entitled to play or free time. I get those times, but I don't expect them or feel like I have earned them. I have learned to work hard even when I don't feel like it. I have learned to try to live more and more for Christ and not for man.

I will stop on that one. I think women in general find themselves comparing themselves to other moms. I know I am guilty of that. We think that if we could just have it together like______, then we would be a good mom and finally must have become the woman God wants us to be. I have chased after that lie ever since I had my first baby. By the grace of God, He is now showing me what it looks like to seek HIM and not other moms. I don't claim to have this down or claim that I don't falter, but my focus is getting more and more consistent.

It is funny how I find myself doing the same things as before, but with a different motivation and purpose. It has been wonderful to see the transformation in my children as they learn to shoulder some of the chores and work of living in a family. We are a team! We help each other! We are learning to do more than expected and not just the minimum. We are learning that life is easier and there is more time for play if we JUST DO IT! All those tasks that we don't like, we do because we are called to serve each other, live with order, and work at everything with our whole heart as if working for Christ Himself! Of course we are learning these things, but I see the fruit in the family and in the way our home is run now.

Now, this does not mean that if you ring my doorbell at any given time, you will find a perfectly clean house and children loving on each other. In fact, if you come over, you will most likely find dishes in the sink and several things out cluttering the living room. (You may even hear a couple of kids arguing.) We have begun by having two 30 min. chore times a day. When the timer goes off, we move on. There is school, meals, play, nap, etc. that also need to get done during the day. No longer do we either do school OR chores. So, sometimes the chore doesn't get done completely. I am monitoring that everyone is working well at their job. Hopefully, as we continue to grow in this area, we will be able to have a completely clean house AND school, etc. done.

Right now, my priorities are that the kids learn to love, to serve each other, to love learning, to work hard, to obey and be under authority, to take responsibility, and to seek and follow Christ. If the dishes get done also, then great! If not, we will try again tomorrow.

Presently, we are having to put some things aside to love on one member of our family. My five year old seems to have no control over his emotions all of a sudden. He LOVES school and does really well during those times of the day, but all others are iffy. He rages no matter what level of thing happens. If he bumps into a chair and it hurts his leg a little, he rages. If a sibling makes him mad, he rages. If I say no to something, he rages. If any disappointment comes, he rages. A rage looks like him screaming uncontrollably and seeking to hurt people and things. He mainly reaches out to throw or hit things, but sometimes focuses on a sibling or dog. I have tried talking to him, praying with him, time outs, redirections, etc. etc. etc. to figure out how to reach him. I am sure he is crying out for something that he is not getting. That idea kills me because, as his mom who loves him, I want to give him what he needs. It is very hard to not be able to figure this out. Maybe he is getting a rush of testosterone in a 5 yr old growth spurt that he doesn't know what to do with. I don't know!!!

I am finding peace in that God knows him perfectly and loves him perfectly. I am asking that He shows me how to love and reach my son. I am trusting that this is just a tough phase that we will get through together. Until He lets me know what to do to help, I am just keeping him and others safe during these episodes.

I have to admit, that I am a little nervous about the idea of having another boy. Are all boys this hard? Will my 3 yr old soon do this? What will happen when there are three boys running around? My trust is in God, though, and I am positive all will be fine. I am very excited about meeting our newest little boy!!!!! I can't wait to hold him and kiss him and finally know what he looks like! Don't you just love babies?

Well, that is basically where we are now. I will try to update more often (maybe) so that this doesn't get so long.

(FYI: Even though we are expecting our 5th baby to be born soon, God still has adoption right on the front of our minds. We don't know or care about age, sex, or nationality, we just want to be a loving home to kids who need one. We will see where God leads our family. He, lovingly, only shows us one day at a time!)

Baby Name Poll

Okay friends and family, we need your help! This baby needs a name! Chris and I have FINALLY narrowed the list down to 8 names. We would love to get a vote to see what you think. The meaning of the name was VERY important to us, so I have included that.
Drum roll please......
(In alphabetical order)

Caleb - faithful, great spiritual potential
Conner - lofty desire, stronghold of God
Ethan - steadfast in Truth
Jonah - declarer of joy and salvation
Joshua - God is my salvation, bringer of Truth
Logan - devoted to God
Nathan (maybe called Nate) - gift of God, victorious
Noah - peaceful, provider of comfort (we add in faithful to this one)

Some factors that may or may not play a part in naming our baby are:
1) Our other children are Allison, Ashlynn, Kevin, and Kaiden
2) The middle name will most likely be Christopher (after Chris!), but we have some other family name ideas too for this.

SOOOOOO, what do you think? Leave us your vote in our comment box. Thanks!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Computer Fixed!!!

I am finally back on the computer!!! For those who don't know, we got a VERY nasty virus that shut our computer down. I opened something I obviously shouldn't have on FB and BAM! it was done. A horrible side effect was the messages sent to ALL my friends saying horrible, cussing, rude things! What a nightmare!



All is well now. We had Kelly Smith to the rescue! He has now gone down in our book as a hero! I am excited to announce to all who don't know this brilliant and talented man that he is launching is own business called South Texas Technology Solutions. He is able to help you with WHATEVER you need!!! Here is the link to his wife's announcement of the launching that will tell you all about it. Call him! You won't regret it!!!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Baby names?????

One of Chris and my biggest struggles is coming up with baby names. So, I was hoping you could provide some input.

Some info:
My name is Amy and our girls are Allison and Ashlynn.
My husband is Chris and our boys are Kevin and Kaiden.

There seems to be a pattern. This, unbelievably, was NOT our intention, totally. Now, I am really wishing we had some more diversity in the group. At the same time, it can't stand out like a sore thumb.

The meaning of the name is VERY, VERY important to us. If we don't like the meaning, it doesn't matter how great the name is.

One more thing, is that we don't want the name to be the most common out there. I grew up one of five Amy's in every room. It would be great if it wasn't most popular right now.

So, with that little bit of back ground, I would LOVE for you guys to name our baby! (Mainly because this part stresses me out! The pressure!) I have never been good with decisions and would be greatful for input.

We need boy and girl names. It is too early for us to find out, and we don't know yet if we will.
I can't wait to see what you come up with!!! Thank you!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The fog is rising (hopefully)

Well, I hit 12 weeks Monday and today (Tues.) is a little better. Actually, yesterday I felt a little more energy in bursts. Then I would crash. I kind of felt like I had had the flu or something and knew I was better, but my body was still coming back to life. Today I am MUCH better!!! I had a wonderful play date with a dear friend which was JUST what I needed. I haven't felt sick after eating and my mood is up and a little more optimistic. HOPEFULLY this is the new trend. I really don't want to sink back into the fog of sickness, tiredness, and depression. We will see....

Thank you to all the sweet friends who commented on my last post and who were praying for me. You are so special to me. I love you!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My baby journey so far...

So far, this has been my hardest pregnancy yet. I was so excited to be pregnant, and I remember the longing to be. Now, I am totally overwhelmed.

This is the first of my pregnancies to feel so horrible all the time without throwing up. I guess, in that way, it is good. Throwing up on top of this would be MUCH worse. I have hormones problems now though, that I have never had. I don't even get crabby when I am on my period. Now all of a sudden, I feel like all of life sucks!

If I may just rant for a minute, this is my blog after all. You can exit if you like. Right now, I am overwhelmed with the kids I have. I can't seem to parent anymore, so discipline is crazy. I see the time I am wasting and I feel so sad about missing these days of their lives. At the same time, all I want to do is get away. Then, I remember another is on the way and I just cry. How can I handle one more, and what is wrong with me when so many I know have a lot more than this!?

The house is a wreck. No one has clean clothes to wear. We are out of many things, making it very difficult to come up with anything to eat. We are eating horribly. I am not doing basic things like pay our bills. We are behind on EVERYTHING and now I see that there isn't enough money there to cover them. I am supposed to be staying off sugar and trying to lose some of this weight before the baby starts really gaining. Not happening anymore. So, I just feel horrible and fat and lazy. I am too into myself right now, I guess, to even try to connect with Chris. I am so tired and sick and depressed, all I can do is lay in my dark bedroom and yell to the kids. By the time Chris walks in the door, which is really late, forget it. I am done for the day. This adds loneliness to all the feelings.

I know I am supposed to be able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me, but I feel so far from God right now, I have no idea how to draw on that strength.

Wow, I just re-read what I accidentally typed. I probably should delete it all, but I won't. Why. I know this is pathetic and sad. I figure no one really reads this stuff, so I can just journal and get it off my chest.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Baby update

Our little baby is 10 weeks along in its amazing development as of last Monday. I had a wonderful visit with our OB/Gyn! I loved the doctor and his staff, which was a HUGE blessing. Plus I got the exciting confirmation that yes indeed, there was a little person growing inside me!!! I got to see it moving and hear its strong heart beat! I just cried happy tears lying there on the table. God is so amazing!!!! The miracle of a new baby beginning its journey will never grow old no matter how many we have! How do people not believe in God? I just can't see how NOT to! I am so excited to get to know this little life!

I still don't know how to put one of those pregnancy trackers on my blog, but I will find out. I actually keep forgetting to ask. Maybe I will go do that now.....

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Easter!

I can't believe in all my update posts, I left our Easter!!! Again, I will have to post pics soon. Sorry!

I can't post pictures!

I CAN NOT find the cord which hooks my camera up to my computer! How frustrating!!! I have birthday pics as well as pics from my MIL's visit. Hopefully I will be able to add them soon.

MIL, Carolyn visited!!!

Carolyn, my mother-in-law visited recently. We had, what I think, was probably our very best time together. We had a wonderful time! She arrived on a Thurs. night. Friday, we had fun running errands and preparing for Chris's birthday. He got a HUGE surprise which was really fun for us! Saturday, we all piled in the car and went on a road trip. We traveled through the beautiful Hill Country, visiting Kerville and Bandera before returning home. There were some festivals and shopping that we took part in. Sunday, we went to church together and then celebrated Chris the rest of the day. Monday, we went to the zoo. Tuesday, we drove out to the San Marcos outlet malls. Sometimes staying so busy wears me out and I don't enjoy it. I tend to be a homebody, but we had a great time everyday!

Happy birthday to my men!

In April, all the males in our family have their birthdays. Kaiden turned 3, Kevin turned 5, and Chris turned 37. We had a great time with all the birthdays! Our first family birthdays happened this month. After a lot of discussion and thought, Chris and I both decided that family birthdays made more sense. Why did I think spending a lot of money, having a huge stressful party, and an enormous amount of gifts was the only way to say, "You are special to me. I love you!" That is ridiculous!!!! Plus, it has made the kids so greedy and have such a sense of entitlement. These are ugly character traits if you ask me. We experienced wonderful family time together, each birthday person felt appreciated and special. What is more exciting is that they are not planning what they want for THEIR next birthday, they are excited about planning their sibling's birthdays!!! What a change of heart, and so quickly! I have been very blessed to hear their discussions and planning to make someone else's day special. Yea!

We are pregnant!!!

It has been a long time since I have posted anything. Our big announcement is that we are pregnant!!!! I am not sure how many weeks along I am. I will go to the doctor May 8th and then let you know. I am somewhere between 7-9 1/2 weeks along. Soon I will figure out how others have put little baby development trackers on their blog and add one to mine.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Kaiden - "I love you"


This will not come across at all in a blog post, but for my own memory I wanted to record it.

Today, Kaiden climbed in my lap and said,"I love you." I responded, "I love you, too!" Then he shouted it. So, I shouted it. Then he whispered it, so I whispered it. At this point he CRACKED up and started trying to do something with his tongue. I didn't understand what he was doing at first. Then, I realized that when I said, "I love you," silently, he thought it was funny how my tongue made the "L" of love.

Throughout the day, Kaiden would come over and whisper, "I love you," and then wait with great anticipation. I would then mouth it back and he would laugh.

This evening, he started doing a shy little giggly laugh every time I said it, like he was embarrassed that he was so loved. I wish each of you could have actually seen him. He was SO cute!

Well, I know this is random in your world, but it was such a sweet day for us both. He was so precious!

Our baby journey...

Several times, on this blog, I have journaled about my desire for more children. I have covered both biological birth and adoption. I haven't mentioned this in a while in an attempt to be content. I was realizing that I was becoming obsessed. I tend to get an idea and dive into it. I read. I research. Anyway, I was convicted that I was actually sinning. I was misusing my time. I was neglecting my children (ironically), to study on the computer. I was not involving my husband, who didn't want any more at the time, and so not submitting to his lead at all.

Chris does want a big family and also feels called to adoption. Several times, we have felt the go ahead to begin the process. Then, it feels like the brakes are applied. This area has been very confusing to us. We are at peace, though. God has definitely given us a heart to help children who do not have a family. We want to be available to whomever God sends. We are content to wait on Him and His timing.

Meanwhile, I was really getting the bug for another biological child. My fears were those shared by Chris. What if I die? I have had four c-sections and so do not have the same freedom that some women do. We have to determine how much my body can take. Chris has always been strongly against me getting pregnant again.

Since we moved, God has been teaching me a lot about submission to Him as well as to Chris. God gave me the grace to truly be content to follow Chris in this area. If I was to never be pregnant again, I was completely okay with that. I gave the desire for more babies up to God and determined to follow Chris's heart, knowing that he did not want any more biologically.

Well, God has changed Chris's heart!! This time, without any of my sinful manipulation that I have been so famous for in the past. We have decided to have another baby!!!! I was late this past month and thought I might be pregnant. I am thankful that I was not, because that would have happened without Chris's blessing. Now, we both really want a baby! So......hopefully God will bless us with a pregnancy and healthy baby soon!

I have joked with Chris, that this baby will need friends. It seems so lonely for our next to be almost 4 years from the next youngest. Our children right now are 8 1/2, 7 1/2, almost 5, and almost 3. Who knows. Maybe twins are in the cards. Or, maybe we will find ourselves adopting soon. Only God knows at this point. I am just excited to be His child and able to have the freedom and peace to follow Him!

I will keep you updated!

Monday, January 19, 2009

videoAll day today, Kevin has been "reading" us a little book. He is SOOO proud of himself. It has been so sweet to see his excitement and sense of achievement. Then, tonight, he ran downstairs with Kaiden and informed Chris and I that he had taught Kaiden to read. In this video, Kevin (4 yrs) is helping Kaiden (2 yrs) to "read." My heart was just about to bust, as you can imagine!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Christmas 2008

The Mantooth's just got home from a two week vacation visiting family for Christmas. We started our trip at my parent's where we woke up Christmas morning. Then, on the 27th, we traveled to Arkansas to visit Chris's family. We arrived back home to our own beds Jan. 3rd exhausted but thankful for our wonderful family and our time with them. Here are some highlights. The kids are modeling their new pj's that they open as their first gift every Christmas Eve.
This is my entire immediate family together on Christmas morning for the first time in who knows how many years. They are all eager for me to stop taking pictures so that they can get to digging through their stockings.

Thanksgiving day, my grandpa fell and broke his leg. It has been a long month with him in the hospital. We were all thankful to have him home for Christmas on a 4 hour pass. We all had a very special time together.



Once we got to Arkansas, we got to celebrate Christmas all over again! Here the kids are cuddling around Carolyn, Chris's mom, aka Grandma. They have just opened gifts.


One night while in Arkansas, we decided to go to Chris's grandparent's house and build a fire. We had dinner out there!!! We put hot dogs on sticks and roasted them. Carolyn had brought the buns and fixings. Then we roasted marshmallows for dessert. Granddad even brought out one of his lawn mowers and gave the kids a ride.
We had a great time! I hope you had a very merry Christmas also, cherishing family and remembering Christ's birth. Happy New Year to all!!!!