Choo-Choo! Garrison turns 2!

This little boy loves trains!

He notices trains everywhere and excitedly points them out, saying “look, mom, train!” We get books from the library and he thumbs through them again and again.

He spends hours hooking up train cars, laying track and making loud “hoo-hoo!” sounds.

His cousin, Bruce, has a similar passion. For their birthday we went to a model train yard that opens to the public once a month and gives rides. The track and trains were quite impressive, with a steam powered engine, tracks, signals, switches and bridges all like a real railroad.

How many Cahills fit on a train car? All 10 apparently! (Skye is barely visible behind Ivy). Garrison rode the entire first round (about 15 minutes) in silence, just taking it all in.

Bruce and his parents.

And the Cook cousins to help us celebrate.

After a ride or two, we moved to the playground for lunch and a cute little cupcake train.

Two little engineers tank up!

After the party we went back to the trains and rode several more times! Even little Ryder enjoyed the experience, bouncing himself up and down as we rode along.

Happy Birthday to these cuties! May your enthusiasm for life never diminish!

Pumpkins

Fall has been brief so far this year – warm, muggy weather followed by cold rainy weather – but one or two glorious days squeezed in between and we took that opportunity to hit the local farmer’s market and their superb pumpkin patch!

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I took my photos quickly and all the kids nicely tolerated my attempts to pose everyone and get them smiling. They knew the quicker they could satisfy mom’s camera, the quicker they could play in the hay maze!

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My beautiful girls – I love the way their age shows in their way of smiling.

My boys. For so many years it was just Lance all alone – and now look!

And of course, the bruiser group of boy cousins – don’t they look like fun for the years to come!

And the babies :-)

Such a fun fall outing!

Summer

Well, now that it’s halfway through September, I thought I’d put up a few pictures of what went on during the Summer.

Most of July was spent resting and recovering from Ryder’s birth.

I personally got a lot of reading done and quite enjoyed myself while Brian and the kids scurried around running the farm.

I won’t say it was all easy riding – the first few weeks Brian went back to work found me in tears here and there, but I kept reminding myself of what my sister had told me once “crying for girls is kind of like sweating for guys.” In other words, what I was doing was hard work, and hard work produces sweat, and I was just sweating out my eyes. It sort of helped.

 

We went back to our Bible reading at breakfast and memory work at lunch. I love tying in habits to predictable happenings during the day. Not every meal worked out, but we persevered and made it through several minor prophets and memorized a fun passage from Acts.

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Ryder was slowly incorporated into daily life, each week making things just a little bit easier. His siblings love him and each enjoy him in different ways.

Ivy has enjoyed setting up scenes and taking his picture. Here a wild Indian rounds up some mustangs.

In a drastic change of careers, Ryder now grooms pets.

Ryder enjoys his first swim!

He likes to get your attention by vocalizing and loves to coo and talk with you.

Ryder is a super happy guy, smiling and laughing easily.

Other summer activities included:

Setting up a new trampoline after the old one broke.

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Becoming well acquainted with a perpetual puddle.

Watching 3 river otters in a neighbors pond!

Picking blueberries

4th of July bounce houses!

Creating a “feast” in the barn.

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Harvesting lots of watermelon….

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…and even more watermelon! Probably over 60 in all!

And lots and lots of free play.

Explanations

I realize some may be wondering just what all happened with Ryder’s birth. Most know that I have delivered the previous 7 children at home and had similar plans this time around. So a quick explanation:

 Garrison’s birth was rough physically and emotionally and I wasn’t looking forward to a repeat experience, but figured I could make it if everything just started and went quickly and steadily. I had taken the verse, Isaiah 40:11, as my plea before the Lord:

“He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”

I told the Lord that I was tired and scared and even unwilling and asked that He would just be gentle with me in this pregnancy and labor. He very lovingly cared for me during the pregnancy, slowly teaching my heart to trust Him again – but that’s another story.

So my due date came and that evening signs of labor started up. We called the midwife but things slowed after a few hours with little progress. Baby’s position was off and I was discouraged. I could go to the chiropractor again, do more positioning stretches (had been doing them for the last 6 weeks) and maybe the baby’s position would change. This sounded long and drawn out and the false start had used up all my psyche.

Between 3 and 4 AM we discussed other options. Brian’s Dad is an OB in East Texas. We figured this was our best bet since we would be a no-doc patient here in town. Brian called his Dad and he said to come on. This change in plans was hard for Brian because of the bad experience we had with hospitals when Lance was born, but he loved me enough to “risk” it. At this point labor was slow and not uncomfortable so we decided to make the drive.

We arrived at the hospital and I was hooked up. Two days earlier “Papa Doc” had delivered grandchild #15 via c-section. Brian’s brother and sister-in-law were still at the hospital so they, along with Brian’s parents were able to keep us company as I waited on my body to work. After a slow start, things picked up around 4 that afternoon. Brian’s Dad suited up around 5:30 and they discussed the church business meeting while I went through the last stages of labor – wonderfully void of pain, thanks to an epidural.

At 6:00 PM, June 20, little Ryder came into the world! Having felt every moment of my previous births, the whole thing was quite unusual in that I felt nothing except a strange numbness in my legs. In a very different way than I had imagined, God answered my prayer for a gentle birth.

Papa Doc with his two grandchildren!

Nurse Helen who was patient and encouraging when things seemed long.

Everything over and done – time to rejoice with family! An unexpected benefit of the epidural was that it wiped out all my after-birth pains too – which are quite severe for me – so I could actually enjoy the “showing off” of the new baby.

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Cousins – Ryder and Cherish; 1 day and 3 days old. They were the same length and within a few ounces of each other. Cherish will get to tell Ryder that she attended his birth…asleep in a little baby bed.

The experience at the hospital was wonderful. The staff were great, we didn’t feel like pawns in the system and many things were similar to the way I liked it at home. I enjoyed the epidural and was much relieved to be spared the pain this time around. We had a quiet day of recovery then headed home to show the kids their new baby brother! The drive home gave us time to process the entire event. I feel great and I am super glad to have it all behind me.

Siblings

One of the best parts about bringing a new baby into the family is introducing it to the other children. They eagerly anticipate the baby all through the pregnancy, talking about it and making suggestions on the name.

While waiting for us to come home from the hospital they made a banner to welcome the new brother.

The girls were excited that his ‘birth’ day present was a tea set (I love tea) and the flowers from our gardens and the store made several rooms welcoming and cheery.

Garrison, no longer the baby, is totally enamored with his new brother. He keeps climbing up on the couch next to me and reaching out his arms to hold Ryder. He studies the “baby” and gently compares facial features with his own. These two are going to be best buds!

Of course, a new baby is quite fun to play with. Ivy was inspired by some photos I did of baby Flora and has been wanting to set up a scene with the new baby. We decided to carry out his name meaning with this first attempt, and I’m sure more scenes will follow.

You know, not everyone is lucky enough to be welcomed by 7 excited siblings but Ryder is one of those few to be so loved.

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