Baby

Our First Calf

We are thrilled to announce that our first Jersey heifer calf was born on the farm yesterday, July 4, 2011! Mama Buttercup is doing well and so is the aptly named Abigail Martha (let me know if you can figure out how we came up with that… and yes, it is related to the 4th of July). Here are a couple pictures to enjoy!

Abigail Martha Reilly

A Joyful 2nd Birthday Celebration

What a special day we had celebrating Joy Elizabeth turning 2 years old! Enjoy this precious video of her!

Joy birthday #2

Joy Elizabeth’s 2nd Birthday!

She’s turning two already?? Ian and I are amazed at how the last two years have traversed so quickly! We are grateful for our sweet little Joy Elizabeth and how she truly lives up to her name and brings joy to all who meet her. Remembering my pregnancy with her and treasuring the home birth experience has left me a bit tearfully thankful. I thank the Lord for all that He has done throughout my life… stirring me, growing me, stretching my faith. And I think how wonderful that we, as parents, get to be a part of modeling the walk of believing God and trusting Him for our children to see and learn. God’s faithfulness and tender love for all of us is overwhelming at times and I must strive to live out that faithful love and overflow with tenderness to our children. I am reminded of Paul’s words in Philippians 4:13-14

“Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”

I thank God that He has kept drawing me into the future… I can not dwell on things of the past… I can treasure what God has done recalling His faithfulness and love (Praise You God!) but to think of regrets steals the joy of the present that God longs for me to embrace. If you would like to look back with me at my experience of having a home birth and trusting the Lord through the birth experience, you can view my blog entry here.

And here she is… the beautiful birthday girl!

A Fresh Look

I have not been writing as much as I’d like to lately. Life with our fourth baby has been wonderful… wonderfully focused on our four children. I do wish for more time to do things I’d like to do, like write, blog, journal, take pictures, sit and stare at a wall (did I type that out loud?)… however, these little energetic kiddos keep me tracking, chasing and attentive to their needs, and yes, sometimes wants. Joy is over eight months old now and it is unbelievable to me how fast it all has gone by. Sometimes it still feels like I just found out I was pregnant and that fresh excitement and joy of a new addition to our family was so vivid. And here we are, about eighteen months later with our bundle of Joy Elizabeth ready to crawl!

In my mind, changing things around gives fresh perspective and is also a motivator for me… it recharges me. Our home is rearranged frequently, with things being sorted through and given away, donated, or set aside for another room or place. So the thought of changing the look on the blog brought a glimmer of hope in my mind of setting aside focused time to share thoughts and ideas of what God is teaching me. I also hope you, the reader, enjoy this new look and am open to any feedback on refining the site.

twothousandnine

2009 was truly a year of growth for our family. Not just physically, with the birth of our fourth baby, Joy Elizabeth, but also we each have grown spiritually. Over the course of the year, God has slowly given us a clearer vision of what He is leading us towards as a family… and now in 2010, things are coming more and more into focus everyday! We are celebrating and overflowing with joy in looking back at the last year, and even the years prior, and seeing how God has slowly, specifically, and lovingly (always lovingly!) been preparing us for what is to come and the dream that has been planted within Ian and I both.

Psalm 128
Happy is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways.
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
Thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.
The Lord bless you from Zion. May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
May you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!

We will be sure to keep you updated as our dream becomes more of a reality! May God bless you greatly in two thousand ten!

70 Days

Do not fear, for I am with you,
do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
-Isaiah 41:10

I’ve been cleaning through things, books, clothes, etc… In sorting through a bookshelf, I found one of my old journals… from 2006. I opened it up to June 9, 2006 (exactly 3 years before Joy Elizabeth was born) and discovered my heart seeking God’s strength with the scripture reference above. Yesterday Joy turned 70 days old (10 weeks) and I am still in a state of awe at God’s provision of strength for her arrival… If you haven’t had a chance to read my labor and birth story, you can read it by clicking here. I am grateful to have found this journal entry that reminds me to ask for God’s strength in all circumstances and know He will answer!

June 9, 2006
Praise You, O God! You hold my right hand and help me… strengthen me and uphold me! I long to look into Your glorious face as you lead me in this dance called life. Thank You for Your protection, Your grace, Your mercy and, Hallelujah, Your love! I seek your help! I cry out for help… direction and peace… Your wisdom poured out over me! Help me my God! You promise in my weakness and I am weak! I take refuge in Your mighty strength… may You show Your strength and power in my many weaknesses. Help show me and my children Your glory through following and obeying You! I love Your word and seek to know it and hide it in my heart so I can call upon You in my times of despair. Send Your Spirit to dwell and speak comfort and Your words in my soul! I love You, my Savior!

God is so faithful! HE has been my strength in many many ways over the last three years and continues to challenge me in trusting in His ways. This is still a prayer for me today as I seek His face and cry out for His wisdom. He is our strength when we are weak!

The Midwives

Four weeks ago today, we gave birth in our very own home. The thought of doing this two years ago had never crossed my mind. I had known one or two people who had had a home birth and respected them greatly, but thought it was something I would never do. Well, as I’ve shared previously here, we truly grew in our knowledge and understanding of labor and birth within the last year and a half. Through friends here in Gainesville, we decided to explore for ourselves the idea of having a home birth.

We were introduced to the Midwives Cooperative and got to meet with 3 wonderful Midwives and being asking our personal questions regarding home birth. Through that “interview” process, we selected two Midwives for our 4th baby’s birth, Donna Rarey and Jessica Stevenson. They both came to all the appointments, which were in our very own home, which was very convenient for Ian to be present as well as the children to actively participate (they helped find the baby’s heartbeat several times!).

Over the weeks and months, we truly were blessed getting to know Donna and Jessica… they were so relaxed and we observed every time we saw them that they really enjoy what they do! They love nurturing women and encouraging them as they journey through pregnancy… answering questions, fears and insecurities. Now, after experiencing a home birth, I have seen the two of them in action! I shared the birth story here, but I didn’t share much about the Midwives. There was just so much I wanted to share about them!

During my labor (which was in the middle of the night), they literally snuck in and allowed Ian and I to continue working through contractions. They busily set up the birth pool, but it was as if they weren’t even there… they weren’t telling me what to do or instructing me to move here or there. After 3 hospital births and many nurses and doctors telling you what to do, how to do it, where to do it, it was amazing to have my own experience and they simply came along and supported that experience! Both Donna and Jessica came and encouraged me through words and touch as the intensity of the contractions increased and as Joy’s arrival neared, they gathered everything that would be needed for her as soon as she came out. But they did this all in our environment, with low lights, candles going, etc… I can only imagine how every birth experience they support is so different, yet similar as they welcome new life into the world. They adjust and come alongside with such grace and gentleness as well as confidence and knowledge. Midwives are truly amazing and I and I both are honored to have had Donna and Jessica deliver our precious little Joy!

The other thing that is wonderful about our Midwives is how they truly care about us and call to check on us after, come and visit 2 days after the birth and again at 2 weeks. It’s now been 4 weeks since Joy Elizabeth’s birth, and we have missed seeing Donna and Jessica! What genuine hearts they have. Below is a picture of both of them stamping Joy’s feet at 2 weeks of age. Thank you to all Midwives who are passionate about women having healthy pregnancies and home births!

Donna & Jessica preparing Joy Elizabeth's foot for stamping!

Donna & Jessica preparing Joy Elizabeth's foot for stamping!

Joy Elizabeth having her feet imprinted by Donna (right) & Jessica (left)

Joy Elizabeth having her feet imprinted by Donna (right) & Jessica (left)

May – June Pictures

Here are some pictures of Joy Elizabeth from the past 2 weeks…She is 3 weeks old today! There’s also some from end of May and early June… enjoy! (Click on picture to view the photo gallery)
MayJune-07

Joy Elizabeth Lydia Reilly

She is here! We welcomed Joy Elizabeth to the world on Tuesday, June 9th at 5:26 in the morning! We had an incredible birth in our very own home… the Lord was near me as I relied on Him for strength during all of the labor and birth of Sweet Baby Joy. I had mild contractions starting Monday morning (June 8th, her actual due date!) lasting throughout the day and was able to go to sleep Monday night in hopes of getting some rest in case they started stronger. Before closing our eyes, Ian and I prayed together, giving the Lord our heart’s desire to meet our precious daughter before sunrise… before our 3 other children wake up on their own. We prayed in faith, believing God would answer.

Night before Joy's arrival...the kids are excited to meet their new baby sister!

Night before Joy's arrival...the kids are excited to meet their new baby sister!

At 1 am I awoke to a strong contraction that caused me to jump out of bed… I heard God whisper to me (not audibly, but in my Spirit), “Are you ready? Let’s go!” I then had another contraction in 3 minutes, then another one in 7 minutes, another in 4 minutes… they were all over the place and stronger. They leveled off at about 3-4 minutes apart lasting for a minute. Ian was such an incredible support and strength for me as I prayed and breathed through each one… knowing they were bringing us closer to meeting our Joy. Our friend, Holli, arrived at 2 am. She was such a great labor coach and advocate for me through the entire labor process. Together, Ian and Holli were there with me through every contraction and spoke encouraging words and empowerment to me… I felt well covered and supported through their teamwork! My mom was up for the night and we let her sleep as long as we could, as she would be helping with the kids as the time drew close to wake them up and meet their new little sister. We were very grateful for her presence and help with our other children… her support and prayers were felt! Our Midwives arrived at the house at 2:30 am. They went to work setting up the birth pool as I continued working through contractions while walking, sitting on the toilet, and ultimately taking a hot shower (which felt great!).

Here is a picture of me at 3 am with the pool being prepared in the background. As you can see, I’m feeling great and excited, soaking up every moment of laboring in the Lord.

June 9, 2009 @ 3 am

June 9, 2009 @ 3 am

For who is God except the Lord? And who is a rock besides our God? – the God who girded me with strength, and made my way safe. -Psalm 18-31-32

As I mentioned earlier, Ian was so wonderful as my labor partner… He is a silent, yet strong man who knows when to speak and encourage. Here we are at 3:22 am in between contractions… What a lovely face I’m making… I’m enjoying every moment and still being a goof.

June 9, 2009 @ 3:22 am

June 9, 2009 @ 3:22 am

Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. -Joshua 1:9

Around 3:30 am I entered the birth pool… The warm water eased the intensity of my rapidly increasing contractions. In between, I relaxed and felt as though I was in a hot tub on vacation! Ian was right by my side… Here we are at 4:01 am.

June 9, 2009 @ 3:40 am

June 9, 2009 @ 4:01 am

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed. O save your people, and bless your heritage; be their shepherd, and carry them for ever. -Psalm 28:7-9

An hour later, at 5:05 am, my water broke. By 5:16, I was feeling the intense urge to push and at 5:26 she was here! What a blessed miracle of life is the process of labor and birth! Joy’s arrival was met with an emotional and sincere, “Praise God!” from myself… she’s out and safe! Jonas & Evelyn were there to witness her arrival and share in the joy! Elliot was soon awakened to meet his baby sister and was all smiles to see her!

Joy is here!

Joy is here!

The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. -Zephaniah 3:17

We are blessed!

We are blessed!

Joyful parents!

Joyful parents!

Sweet Joy Elizabeth

Sweet Joy Elizabeth

Tired yet proud big, big, big brother!

Tired yet proud big, big, big brother!

A happy big, big sister!

A happy big, big sister!

And a super smiley, new BIG brother!

And a super smiley, new BIG brother!

Happy little girl!

Happy little girl!

His JOY comes in the morning! -Psalm 30:5b

May Family Photos

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View our Memorial Day family photos here!