Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Newest member of our family

Yes, the Phelps family always seems to be GROWING!  Meet Otis, on the left.  He and Koda are brothers, both black labs.  Koda is thrilled with a playmate and we are so fortunate to have the opportunity to bring his brother home.  Odie is Otis's nickname and so I've already gotten the dogs mixed up.  I might have to just call them Kodis!  They'll both come.  : )

They are so beautiful!!  Sweet, sweet puppies.  We are so grateful to our friends, the Harchariks, for giving them to us!  Come and visit them often!  They are playfully chasing each other outside now after having been given a treat to SIT for my pictures.  Good dogs.  They round out our now family of 11 if you include the long time kitties, Bessie & Tinkerbell...who are none too thrilled about the dogs.  Ha!

Receiving Love, Giving Thanks, Having Joy

Recently our family has been on the receiving end of all kinds of love.  A group of our friends sent us on a Weekend to Remember getaway here in town, and also took all of our children for two nights and two days.  It was the first time we were away from them overnight in our 11 years of marriage.  It also was the weekend following our anniversary.  What was included was a date night to a fancy restaurant in Old Sac., morning Starbucks giftcards, Gas cards, specific instructions on what we were not allowed to discuss on our weekend together, Cash for lunch, etc. etc.  The FamilyLife Weekend to Remember marriage conference was so amazing and beautifully timed in our lives.  It was, without a doubt, the best weekend we've had in many years and we learned a lot about "oneness" in our marriage but also about receiving from God and giving selflessly to those He loves.  Which is everyone!

In the following weekends, we received a hugely wonderful gift from a local bible study group of which a dear friend is part of.  They were doing something called "40 Days of Love" and decided to find a family to bless for Christmas.  Our name was among the nominees and they all voted on us.  I'm still trying to process the gift and Royce and I are beyond words grateful.  They showed up with huge bags of wrapped presents for everyone in the family, along with a gift card which is going to allow us to take each child out shopping for another one, and there was also a coupon for a free turkey!  What they didn't know was that we had NO idea how we were going to pull off Christmas this year.  We have been obedient to not worry too much, God always finds a way to take care of us.  He is ever so faithful.  When you do things for others, especially around Christmas, it is such a powerful statement of love.  I'm not sure if anyone from that bible study will read this, but I'm writing because I felt completely moved toward gratitude and sharing it with others.  Our plan is to bring out all of those gifts on Christmas morning and share the gift of giving and the story behind it with our 5 little people who are going to be so excited on Christmas morning... thanks to some pretty awesome and selfless givers.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to everyone who has given so much to us and shared so much of yourselves with us.  We are truly, truly blessed and pray that we will in turn be a blessing to others.  Thank you.  We could not find more joy in our present circumstances without the lavish grace our God has bestowed on us, and amazing Love we receive from His Son Jesus.  Thank you for being Jesus' hands and feet.

  A picture of Royce and I on our special date night - Happy Anniversary, My Love.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

2011 Phelps Family Photos

As promised many months ago (March!), here are the finished photos of the whole family photo shoot. Finally uploading from Snapfish - thank you Tanea with His Life Photography - you captured us well!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found a recipe through Google. If you have one that sounds better, let me know! The kids and I are experimenting in the kitchen this week.

1 package devil's food cake mix
1/2 cup margarine, softened (I used BUTTER, of course)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional (no nuts)
1 cup chocolate chips (a few extra ; )

Beat half of the cake mix with the margarine, vanilla and eggs until smooth. Add remaining cake mix, the nuts and the chocolate chips. Stir well. Drop dough from a rounded teaspoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 10 minutes. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Preston in Paris

Onto a little bit more positive blog post, today Preston had French Cafe at school.  Each year the Kindergarteners go to Le Cafe Francais (pictured below).  They do such an amazing job rounding up the parents to pull this off.  From a pianist, to the red checkered table cloths, cubed cheese and grapes, to a live artist/painting, wearing berets and being served by parents.  They have plenty of time to be "cultured" and enjoy themselves.  It was so fun to watch.  Here are a few pictures.

Joshua's hospital visit

It has been exactly 1 week since Joshy got sick.  He began vomiting exactly a week ago, to the hour.  It was a rough Friday night but Saturday he was just fine.  Eating mild foods again, seemingly happy.  Until the next day, AFTER we already arrived at church.  Although we were planning on holding him with us on communion Sunday to continue recovering, he went ahead and threw up on Royce after we placed the last child in Sunday school.  We weren't really sure what to do at that point.  Load everyone back up, go home?  It seemed to be just water that came up and Royce was also feeling badly.  Anyway, we decided to stand in the back of the service until it was over.  Someone gave us their seat in the back and during communion I took Joshy in for prayer.  As God works in His wonderful way, it was a man whose wife worked closely with small children (a nurse maybe?) who prayed over us and then brought his wife in to see him.  She agreed that it might be good, for peace of mind if nothing else, to bring him to an urgent care that day.  Well, Royce went straight to bed after church, the kids played and I knew that once all the kids went to bed that I would be taking Joshua in to the ER.  Farthest thought from my mind, however, was the fact that they may want to keep him.  I just figured I'd do what we always did, go to the ER I was comfortable with (Mercy in Folsom) and be home a couple of hours later...knowing my baby was OK.  Instead I texted a handful of people what my plan was, and they all offered to come with, help at home or just pray.  I picked up my friend Janet and took her along for the ride (God moment #1)... strange how that worked out as well, because otherwise I would have been alone, and my car would have been stuck in Folsom.  So we get to the ER and it was empty.  We basically checked in and walked right into the triage room.  The physician's assistant just happened to be the husband of a friend in MOPS (another God moment).  He got us settled into a room for testing after drawing some of Joshy's blood.  We were next ushered in for an abdominal ultrasound to check out his appendix.  Next, he had an abdominal xray.  He was crying all afternoon, as though in pain, so they wanted to rule out all kinds of things such as appendicitis and intestinal blockage.  In his first blood labwork, there were things that proved he was severely dehydrated (low sodium levels, low glucose) however there were also abnormalities, so the ER doctor wanted him admitted.  They don't have a pediatric department at this hospital so they had to take him by ambulance to Mercy San Juan.  I am so thankful that Janet was with us through this whole thing.  We finally got settled at 2am in Carmichael and Joshy fell asleep at 4am.  Three hours later, we woke up and I felt awful.  Fearing I was coming down with the same intestinal bug, I prayed.  I asked the Lord to remove this cup from me and then I began to thank Him for doing so.  I might have still felt awful for a little bit, but I just kept thanking Him for healing me.  With Royce at home with the other 4 kids, taking time off of work to be the mom and dad around the house, I knew I needed to be well with my baby in the hospital.  Before noon, I was feeling completely better.  (Praise God!)  Joshy, as it turns out, was suffering from "gastrointeritis" sp? which is just a nasty virus that settles into your intestine.  It presents itself in different ways in people, either vomiting, diarrea, severe gas.  Babies can get hit pretty hard and you have to watch their hydration.  So on Monday they were re-hydrating him and they took more labs to make sure the abnormalities went in the direction of normal again.  Apparently his Ph balance went off in the opposite direction of someone who has been vomitting would "normally" go.  A wonderful resident doctor and attending pediatrician were assigned to him and also a med student.  They would sit outside at the desks talking as a team and come in to ask questions from time to time, pulling a "House" on us.  I thought it was great.  Such wonderful care Joshy received.  The pediatrician wanted him overnight to ensure his proper rehydration and then we'd wean him off in the morning.  Tuesday morning he was discharged and a different child!  Below are some pictures. Thank you Lord for taking such good care of Joshua and our family during this time!

In the ER after finally falling asleep in my arms.

Next day, taking a nap in his crib-cage bed.

Before coming home, happy and feeling better!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Joshy's 1st Birthday

Going through my iPod pictures, I found some of Joshy's birthday afterall!
What a sweet little guy, we love him so much. Below he's eating his first birthday cake and then there is a video for part 2. First baby of mine to eat his cake this way!

Happy Birthday My Love!

I surprised Royce on his birthday (July 19) to a kid-less night out to Tahoe Joes accompanied by our good friends. It was a nice little get-away and good company too.

Fun Summer Times

Here we are on a swim day this summer. What a full car!

A new baby?

Each year, it seems, we announce a new "addition" to our family. Yep, you heard right, we extended our family! This time by way of the canine family. Meet Koda, our baby black lab.

He is now about 18 weeks old:


Joshua couldn't go with infected ears, plus we had a new puppy, so Royce took all 4 of the older kids camping this year! This is the first time I'm seeing all of these photos too. Looks like they had a blast!

More Birthdays

Hannah & Preston shared a birthday party in June. The kids worked all week to create signs for different stations of "fun" at this party. There was an adopt a pet (littlest petshop), dress-up, bubbles, search for gold in the sandbox, catch ladybugs & art stations. Grandma & Aunt Gracie made beautiful cakes as usual!
Here are some highlights. (Sadly, I don't have pictures of Joshy's 1st b-day, maybe on my phone? Emily or Gracie or Mom?)
So, Hannah turned 7 and Preston turned 5!

Sleeping baby

As I look through our recent photos of all the kids, this one struck me. I won't really have license to use the term "sleeping baby" much longer. Joshua, our 5th and last "baby" is getting so big! Look at this precious sleeping like an angel.

Below is a picture of him pre-op surgery for getting tubes in his ears. This was the end of a tough time in this little guys' first year of life. Ear infection upon ear infection from February to June prompted the surgery and his is a different kiddo because of it.
Joshua turned 1 on July 12th and isn't walking yet but recently showed interest in trying.

More updates on other children coming soon!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

We've moved!

After 2 wonderful years in Orangevale, we have moved to Carmichael. The move has us completely busy and exhausted as we try to settle in to the new house but we absolutely love the neighborhood, the house, the and the backyard. Today we are ready to update our blog! Don't want the whole year to get away without sharing some of our highlights. Can hardly believe it is October - but started with the Christmas songs last week. Royce thought I was crazy. : )

Look forward to sharing backwards, keep posted!

Today, here is our backyard and cute little boys jumping on the trampoline. There are some major holes we need to fill in and we've made the grass green again (in most parts, you'll see.)