Thursday, April 26, 2012

SHE's here!!!

Well, I've been away from this space for again - but with a very
good reason! These past couple weeks have been a beautiful,
sleep-deprived, love-filled, soaking in of our sweet new daughter!
Here's a little look at our first 24 hours...

April 4th
 We headed to the hospital around 8:30 at night. My water had
broken at 4:30 that morning but then the entire day passed without
anything happening. Not a single contraction! I'm not sure who was
more anxious for something (anything!) to happen, Peter or I.
Around supper our midwives popped by to see how things were 
going and during that time things finally started picking up.
After a little marathon of The Office (our favorite show) my 
contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart so we (and by 'we', I 
mean Peter) threw our bags in the truck and scooted over to
the Palmerston hospital. Let's get this show on the road!!

We quickly settled in - Pete was SO happy to finally
be here! I guess I was pretty glad too ;)
 One more shot of the big mama :)
The first hour passed really quickly, just joking around and talking
about our birth experiences with the other kids. Then things started
happening really fast...although in my mind it was not that quick.
The above picture was taken at 9:21pm. The following picture was
taken at 9:48pm...if you had asked me, I would have told you that
there was at least an hour and a half between the two! I guess 
high levels of pain affect your judgement :) Anyways, without
further ado, we introduce

~Katie Shalom Koobs~ 
 Her name means 'pure in heart'.
When we were considering the name Katie, for if we had a girl, our church
family began memorizing the Sermon on the Mount together. When we got
to the eighth verse, I knew this would be the name for our daughter. 
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." ~Matthew 5:8
And that is our prayer for her, a pure heart that sees the hand of her
 Heavenly Father at work in everything around her.
Her middle name, Shalom, means 'God is our peace'.
Katie's birth has brought so much peace - healing we didn't even realize
we needed.  "The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
    my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
    and my place of safety." ~Psalm 18:2
And for those of you who know anything about our story,
you know that this place is very, very special to Peter and I. 
Shalom was the perfect addition to our daughter's name.
We also happen to have a very sweet sister-in-law who, in marrying
my brother, has brought so much joy and restoration to our family.
As we watch our little Katie echo these traits, we're thrilled she
can share her name with such a special woman.

 This was our first baby with a midwife and we spent the entire
first hour of Katie's life just loving, snuggling and being in awe
of the amazing gift we had just been given. This was such a
precious time and I'm so thankful that we were able to have
this opportunity. It was so different than our experiences with the
other kids. Not to lessen their precious arrivals into the world but,
especially after the traumatic first few hours of Jude's life, having this
quiet time together to just enjoy and marvel at this amazing new life
was something we will always treasure. 

 Another thing that made Katie's arrival extra special was the 
fact that she was born right into the waiting hands of her daddy :)
Pete made an expert "catch" after his explicit instructions to
'Just make sure you catch'em before the first bounce!' LOL!!
 Can I just say again how amazing our team of midwives were? I could
 write an entire post about how incredible their care has been! Since 
the details would probably be way too much information for most
of you ;) , I will just say that the care they gave us was such an
incredible blessing, not just for me, but for our entire family. 
For someone who had always been a bit wary of midwifery,
I have become the biggest advocate...and am humbly grateful
for the unexpected gift we all received when I came into their care.
Thank you Mhairi, Emily, Laura and Sabrina! xo

 Around midnight, the girls asked if I wanted to check in and
settle down for the night...or go home. GO HOME?? For reals?!?
You mean I can sleep in my own bed, with no one bugging me every
couple hours to check my temperature and blood pressure, and
have only ONE baby crying (who happens to be our own little
sweetheart who's cries melt our heart) and eat something delicious 
and not pre-packaged for breakfast?? Sign me up!!
So we cleaned up, threw some snuggly jammies on and headed home
for our first sweet night together. It was kind of surreal pulling out
of the hospital parking lot a mere four hours later, no longer two
but three. Our sweet daughter, who only hours before had been
tucked away in my womb, was now clipped into her own seat belt
filling up our truck with one more car seat...and even more love.
Did I mention how much we loved having midwives?  :)
 After a precious night of not much sleeping but lots of snuggling, listening to
sweet baby sounds, tender touches and checking her sweet breath just to be sure,
Grandma and Grandpa brought the troops over to meet their new sister.
I shared this picture earlier, after cropping myself out of it...looking back at it now,
while I still don't love my puffy, exhausted face, I am so thankful for this picture 
filled with love and delight. So here I am, 12 hours after Katie was born, with all of 
my babies and I truly couldn't be happier. I think I actually love this picture :)

 A very happy Grandma (and the plaid shirt to the left is
proof that Grandpa was there too!) meeting her newest
grand-daughter.  Gracie Jo has been the only grand-daughter
on both sides for 7 years now. Up till now she has truly enjoyed
 her status as the only princess...

 ...but she is happily sharing her reign with Katie now :)
I'm pretty sure there has never been a happier big sister.
Katie is so blessed to have this beautiful girl loving on her, I'm so 
excited for these two and the special relationship they're going have.
 Daddy's girls 
 And here's one happy Opa!
When I was still pregnant, Dad had a dream that I had
a boy. He woke up Mom to tell her...that he was so disappointed!
Gracie Jo was not the only one who was secretly hoping for a girl :)
I know that Gracie and Katie will always have a special place
in their Opa's heart.
Oma and Opa had been in Florida since February...but made
the long trip home, unknowingly, on the very day I went into labour.
Over 2000 kilometres of driving...worth it to hold your newest
grand-daughter the morning after she was born :)

Katie's first day was made extra-special by a quick little
visit from her great-grandparents. Had Katie waited two more 
hours before showing up, she would have been born on her 
great-great-grandma's birthday (Grandma Koobs' mom's
birthday was the 5th), but she wasn't quite patient enough. While I 
was really hoping she could have shared her birthday with such a special woman
...we were more than happy for her early arrival. 

Katie is the first baby we've had that won't have had any 
great-grandparents on my side. During special times like this, I always
miss my grandparents a lot. Opa VanVliet would have been tickled
pink to have another little meisje and Oma VanVliet would've thought
we were absolutely nuts to have five kids - and would've explicitly
told me so. LOL! And, it's probably crazy, but I still think to pick
up the phone to give Oma Meinen a call and tell her about 
everything that's going on here. I know her and Opa would have
been so delighted and proud of their newest great-granddaughter,
as they were of all their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
But while I mourn my grandparents a lot during these special
moments, it makes me extra grateful for Peter's grandparents.
God has truly given me a gift in them. They have always made
me feel loved and cared for like one of their own. And seeing Katie
in Grandma's arms, knowing how she has already been prayed
for and blessed because of her great-grandparents' faith is
something I treasure greatly. And hearing Grandma VK's 
flabbergasted voice when I picked up the phone at home the
morning after Katie's birth put the biggest smile on my face.
Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa Koobs and Grandma and 
Opa Vanderklippe for the great blessing you are to our family.
We love you so much!

There are so many more things I could write about this precious
new daughter of ours...but this post has already taken me over
a week to finish and I'm sure my sleep-deprived, seriously
hormone-influenced ramblings have gone on long enough already :)
Katie Shalom, you were so wanted and we thank God a million times
over for sending you into our family. You are such a precious gift
and we love to you pieces, baby girl!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Visit from our favorite little Man

Our most lovely brother and sister-in-law came over
and they brought along our most favorite little guy and,
let me tell you, the amount of loving in this house was
seriously through the roof!! It's a good thing Manny is
so easy-going because, with four cousins who are
absolutely crazy about him, it's a non-stop lovefest
whenever they're all together.
Oh, and just for the record, Greg and Alex we
think you guys are pretty awesome too! ;)

Even though Manny is the most delicious roly-poly
six-month old, who's already sitting up and
eating solid foods, Jude insists on calling him 'Baby'.
But he does with so much love and sweetness we'll
let it go for now :)

Levi is completely smitten

Silas sneaks in a few minutes with Uncle George...
and his phone. Silas is a complete Angry Birds addict
so, if you ever come for a visit and pull out your cell,
be warned!

Like father, like son

More snuggle time...

Uncle George managed to sneak a few snuggles in as well.

Can you feel the love?!?

And a quick peek from the end of the day.
This picture cracks me up. While everyone was getting
ready for bed, we put on the movie "Horton Hears a
Who". All of the kids, from 6 months to 7 years were totally
zoned out. Classic.

Watching this little crew of cousins grow is such
a joy and blessing. Thanks for the visit Uncle George,
Aunt Alex and Manny. We love you!!!