Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Fall Trips to our Favorite Farms

It was an interesting start to the week yesterday.

It was my birthday, we woke up to no power because of furious wind and rain, and a school delay-turned-cancellation.

Let me tell you, nothing says Happy Birthday quite like waking up to darkness and not being able to take a shower, and basically looking and feeling like crud all day long, AND dealing with grumpy people. Lots of grumpy people, ha. But you know what? These are temporary circumstances, and I couldn't help but think of those who underwent so much worse than me all during Harvey and Irma, and who are still feeling the effects. Today the alarm went off, I even got myself a cup of hot tea, and it feels pretty darn good. I'll write more about the day later, but for now, I wanted to post about our trips to the farm and orchard before I blink and it's Christmas!

Caleb was really sick two weeks ago, poor guy, but he'd made enough of a recovery by the third day that he felt okay taking a little road trip. It was such a gorgeous fall day, the kind you just want to drink and in and savor forever.

We had the place to ourselves for the most part since it's past peak season, but this is a strange year for bees and wasps- they were everywhere! We couldn't get away from them and we hadn't even gotten the cider donuts yet!

That's partly the reason I took pictures super fast- I was terrified of poor Levi getting stung!

We think he liked his vantage point from up here. :)

I was going to back up and snap a few, because it was so, so cute, but again, cute picture VS. nasty bee sting, and it just didn't make sense to take the risk.

There's a fantastic play area for children there. I can hardly believe I've been taking my kids to this place since they were Levi's age. That's a lot of years!!

Clearly Levi is thrilled to share this with me, ha ha. Just kidding, he had lots of fun.

Such a great big brother!

 Levi was trying his hardest to pick up the heaviest pumpkins. Then he started patting them- I think he liked how cool and smooth they felt against his little palm.

The leaves were just beginning to turn then, but it's still such a fabulous view.

Love these two so much!

I think his feelings about posing with pumpkins at this point are pretty clear. :)

Then on Saturday, we brought the youngest three to one of our favorite family farms. We had visited the weekend prior, but there were cars parked all up and down the road for half a mile, plus the entire lot next to the farm was entirely filled up. Hello, we are Bill and Bethany, and we do not handle crowds well. There, I said it.

This gem greeted us on the way in.

He had just had an encounter with an overly-friendly/ambitious goat, and he was still reeling from that a bit here. ha ha ha

We've been visiting Sunny the Pony for over a decade now. She's so sweet.

Say hi to a little sheep. Clearly the sheep is not returning Levi's friendly advances.

Ah yes, the goat. We took some video of their squabble, it was hilarious! Levi just started scolding (in his own unintelligible language) this goat, who had gotten a bit too close for his comfort, and the expressions on his face and the tone of  his voice was hysterical. I wonder where he's seen that modeled before, hmm...
 I think the goat does look a little sassy. Don't you?

I thought this was such a sweet scene

I may have posted this one before, but it's worth repeating. Those are the poster faces of someone who is over it. ha ha Except Isabelle, she can be in the middle of a screaming match and then whip out the prettiest smile you ever saw. Girls. ;)

After the storm yesterday, the trees are quite bare now. I'm glad I took the pictures I did!

How has your fall been?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Friday Favorites - The Last of October

I can't get a handle on October this year. I don't remember a month flying by so quickly, but this one sure is. And this is my birthday weekend, and then trick or treating!

And of course all the pumpkins.
I saw so many cute photos like this floating around on Instagram and I just had to jump on the bandwagon. Too adorable for words! It's also been a gloomy, rainy week, and we've been stuck indoors forever and a day, so...we may be just a bit stir crazy at this point. ;)

This sums up how they really felt when they saw Mom get out the camera. I'll have to do a separate post on some of our favorite fall activities and outings.

We've also been visiting college campuses. While it's exciting and I love it, I also don't. For obvious reasons.

Before all the rain came... Playing in leaves never gets old!

This week also marked the end of fall soccer, one of my favorite things in the whole world. Basketball is next!

Okay, my computer is slooooow this morning- the wind and rain? who knows?- and it's already later than I thought, so I'm off to finish making lunches. I don't have a single thing planned for today except to finish a certain little someone's costume. And maybe get a quick treat... ;) And then it's busy busy busy for the next few days, but only with fun stuff! Hope you have a great weekend!

Sharing with Erika and April today - join in and say hello! :)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Ten on Ten :: October 2017

I can hardly believe it's October, but now we're into the second full week! 
How is time marching forward so, so quickly?!

Here is a little glimpse into our everyday beauty - 10 pictures on the tenth of the month.
I don't think there's an active link anymore, but I still like to document these days.

 We started our day early, but Levi was acting happy and I got to make our favorite pancakes- I added mini chocolate chips and everyone gobbled them up. (you can find my recipe listed under "breakfast and brunch")

Ethan drove everyone to high school and Isabelle hung out with Levi and me before we sent her off to fifth grade.
Someone's happy mood deteriorated picture of saying goodbye to sister. 

Poor baby. :(
We were snuggling and admiring the view since we moved out the brown leather sofa to make room for the new one getting delivered later on.

Feeling better for a few minutes...

...and then crashing on the floor.
We don't normally hang out much in here, but we have been recently and I LOVE it.

Lots of tears and coughs, so I canceled our play date at the park and headed out for a nice long walk instead.
Now here's a little story for you: halfway to the trail I realized that I hadn't even grabbed the dog's leash in my frenzied state as we left the house. I was annoyed by this, but we let Ryder free on most trails so I didn't think it would be too big a problem.
Well I was WRONG.
Thirty seconds in, a lady was whipping out her phone and I just had an odd sense that it had something to do with me. Suddenly she was telling me that she was calling campus security if I didn't leave and go home immediately, or that she was going to call the police and have me arrested.
Umm, lady, you don't get out much, do you?
She went on and on about leash laws, at one point lifted her shirt- to my horror!- to reveal a spot she said was caused by a dog attack though I didn't see anything. Clearly, she was traumatized by that incident, and she was right- we DO have a leash law, and I SHOULD be abiding by it. I'd like to add here that I take that seriously, but I do let our dog go free on trails, as most other people do as well.
There, with that said, I had had enough so I looked her straight in the eye and kind of let her have it.

For one thing, I am not twelve so you don't need to speak to me like you would a child. Nor do you need to threaten me or tell me what to do. I'll spare you the official transcript, but I can only think of two incidents where I spoke back (and up for myself) like that to strangers in my whole life. I am a firm believer in the idea that there is a right and a wrong way to approach anybody, and there really was no need for all the drama.

For a few seconds, I was close to tears, mainly because I was so frustrated, and I was imagining going back home, literally minutes after arriving, and the thought of putting Levi right back in the car seat only to be met with screams and fury put me on the verge of my own little meltdown. But I regrouped, put Ryder in the van, rolled the windows down, and Levi and I set off for a lovely walk. I am SO glad I had the sense to salvage our walk. Do you ever do that? Something gets you so upset or catches you so off guard that you can't think straight and end up really missing out?

We also had lots of fun playing in the sunshine and having a little pumpkin bum photo shoot.
Because why not? ha ha ha 
And I'm counting these as one because they're all related and too cute not to share!

 This is the one I posted on instagram. Gah, those tippy toes slay me!!!

Levi had a great nap, so I worked on Wendy Darling orders while he slept.
I am incredibly thankful for their popularity this year, however, I don't think I want to look at blue flannel for a loooong time after they're all done. :)

 Late lunch for this fella

 Then it was time to pick up Isabelle from school and go to piano lessons. I love her dress, so we took pictures under the pretty tree. (I think it was under $10 from Old Navy)

No pictures of the grocery store or food in the cart, but that's where I went after dropping off Isabelle. Bill headed into town to pick her up and then get Caleb from school, and this guy went along for the ride. He's become obsessed with drawers this week! Yesterday I emptied these out and put in things that he's allowed to play with, so of course he didn't have as much interest in them then. Figures!  Sneak peek of our new couch, too!

We planned on selling the leather couch, but since we already own it, I wanted to try to use it somewhere. Best decision ever! I can't even tell you how happy this unexpected change of events has made me! It feels so nice to have a soft spot to land on out there! Caleb has claimed this as his homework spot for the time being. :)
 I'm creating Levi's costume from a few different patterns put together. Wish me luck!
And I spy more blue flannel over there. Drowning in blue flannel until I finish these orders....

The leaves are beginning to turn and it's so beautiful. I sewed for a while after getting Levi to sleep, and then Isabelle and I snuggled for a little while in her bed talking girl talk. :)

 Hope you're having a nice week!

I'm on instagram
@bethanylivs_life if you want to say hello!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

My Scary Morning in the ER with Levi

I'm very thankful for lots of orders to work on, but between that, taking care of a big family, and just life in general, I'm having a hard time keeping up with blogging. And I don't want to give it up because it's such a great way to document all the happenings in our life, but still. It's tough.

Poor Jonah was feeling lousy for several days a couple weeks ago, and after he began vomiting and ran a fever, I brought him in to the doctors. Diagnosis: pneumonia. Poor guy. He has been my sidekick for the past two weeks, which has been kind of nice (minus the not feeling well part). Of course I thought back to when Ethan and Isabelle both had pneumonia last summer, and then little two month old Levi got really sick, and that phone call from the doctor a couple of hours after his appointment saying that we needed to get Levi to the hospital right away. As in, don't even finish dinner, just get to the hospital. Thankfully he responded to antibiotics and recovered fairly quickly, but he had such a rough start between his stomach issues and then the pneumonia. (The stomach problems persisted for several months, but seemed to go away on their own as he grew older.)

This past Thursday morning started like any other. My husband left for work around 4:15 and then I waited to hear Levi, who usually gets up to nurse and go back to sleep any time between 4 and 5:30. That's quite a gap, yes, but it works for us. And I'll take that over Ethan, who used to get up for the day at 4:30, but of course just be miserable, because really, who wants to be up at 4:30? I heard Levi call out, but it sounded strange. It wasn't a cry, more like a moan, or even a quieted shriek or gasp. I flew into his room because something just felt off when I heard it, and was surprised to hear his crib rails rattling about. For a split second, I thought he was being silly and shaking them, or rolling around and playing, making them rattle. But then my heart crashed to the floor. He was making a troubling sounding clicking noise, as if he were choking, and I bent down to scoop him up, but he would not stay in my arms. He had no control of his body and flopped back down onto the mattress. Normally, when he knows I'm there to get him, he sits up for me to reach under his arms and pick him up. The second time I tried to retrieve him, I felt him shaking all over. And then I felt his skin. I was horrified. He was burning up, hotter than I have ever felt a person's skin in my life. I kept telling myself to stay calm, stay calm, but my thoughts were already racing and my heart was pounding in my chest.

I rushed into my bedroom with him and turned on a light. I had to fight back the urge to panic as I watched him convulse and could not get him to open his eyes and notice me. I wondered if I should call 911, but because he was obviously breathing, I called my husband and told him that something was wrong so he had to come back home. It must have been around this time that his little body stopped shaking, but I could not get him to wake up. That's what I remember thinking, you need to wake up, wake up! He opened his eyes once or twice, but they rolled back in his head and his body was limp. He was still breathing, but I was terrified he might stop. He hates having his diaper changed in the early morning so I thought that might wake him up. It didn't. He fussed a little, at first, then went limp again. My heart was in my throat by now.

I called my parents and my Dad told me he'd come down and we would drive him to the ER together. So I grabbed whatever outfit I'd left draped over the edge of my chair from the day before, threw it on, and ran downstairs with Levi. I woke the boys up and told them they were in charge because we needed to get Levi to the doctor. I knew my Mom was coming down in a bit to help Isabelle also.

I did not put Levi in his car seat to get him to the hospital. It's a ten minute drive, maybe less, and I was afraid if he stopped breathing I wouldn't know it, so I kept him in cradled in my arms. He didn't move the entire drive there. That broke my heart, knowing that he would normally be climbing up me to get a better look at what was going on, curious about everything. But he was completely still.

I could tell that his fever had come down a bit, and then suddenly I was walking him inside the ER. It was barely six and empty as far as I could tell. They got us into a room quickly, attached an oxygen monitor and took his temperature again. 103.8, or maybe .6 - it was high, but I knew it had been higher at home. We gave him Tylenol to keep his fever under control and to avoid another seizure, and then it was lots of waiting and trying to keep Levi comfortable. He wasn't interested in eating or really drinking much, but he did want to nurse, so we settled into the hospital bed and he even drifted off to sleep a few times. At one point my hip was absolutely throbbing because of the way I was positioned, but he was sleeping soundly and I didn't want to move a muscle- literally- to risk waking him. The things we Mamas do for love, ha ha. :)

My husband arrived sometime during our wait, and after a while, Levi even felt well enough to play peek-a-boo with me with the big privacy curtain and then spin around on the doctor's stool for a bit. What a relief! We were given the green light to go home shortly afterward, and the fact that his well check had been scheduled for that very afternoon was perfect. Throughout the rest of the day, we just played, tried to keep him happy and keep any high fever at bay.

This was one of the scariest moments/days of my whole life, one I hope to never ever repeat. My heart goes out to you Moms and Dads who are living with sick children. Truly. I will be praying for you! This was just one day, and yes, I haven't slept great since because I'm constantly worried, but this isn't an ongoing issue for us and I know that isn't the case for everyone. My heart just aches for families whose lives revolve around sick kids. I admit I have begun to worry about things like this, and sometimes it seems overwhelming and consuming, and it cripples me. I have a story to share, later, and I know it plays into this fear. But fear is not from God. I'll share soon....hope you have a great day!

His little body was so, so tired

 I look haggardly in this photo- I'd just taken a shower and desperately needed sleep. BUT Levi was smiling and it was the best thing in the world!

Looking a bit nervous at the doctor's office that afternoon
our big boy is long and lean...just like his Mama used to be, ha ha ha

Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
John 14:27

I'm hoping to get my Ten on Ten post done tomorrow, and I've got quite the story to tell. It may have involved a crazy lady threatening to call the police on me... I couldn't even make this stuff up! :)
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