~~~~~~~~~ "We are here for only a moment, wanderers and sojourners in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace." I Chron. 29:15 NLT

Monday, May 04, 2009

New Grandbaby!

April Mae born April 26, 2009 at 3:38 a.m., 7 lbs., 12 ozs., 19 inches. Lots of dark hair--Nana took her hat off here so you could see some of it. She's a real cutie and already we can tell she's a sweet heart. Her mommy calls her "Sweet Pea." She looks a lot like her mommy when she was a baby.
(Ignore the dates as my camera was confused) More pictures below.

Did I say in my last post we were expecting our third grandchild in May? We were pleasantly surprised when April Mae was born in April instead of May (her middle name is her other grandma's middle name and not the month). I think her middle name should have been Storm, or Stormie, as her dad, mom, sister, and brother arrived at the hospital during severe thunderstorms. Part of her labor stalled when all of the patients at Newton Medical Center had to sit out a tornado warning in the hospital hallways. Luckily, mom didn't have to deliver to an audience!

In so many ways, God was protecting them. Dean was scheduled to sing with the Mennonite Men's Chorus in Newton and was just getting ready to leave for the early rehearsal when mom felt a strange pressure in her belly, while loading the dishwasher after Sunday dinner. After calling the doctor it was decided she had better get to the hospital to check it out. Amy had her bag packed, but hadn't prepared bags for Alana and Derek who would come to stay at our house. I guess there was some frantic packing going on for the next hour or so. Plus, Alan and I were doing some hard praying that they would make it through the thunderstorms okay. Later, we found out they were just moments ahead of a downburst or straight-line winds that did quite a lot of damage in areas around the road they drove on to Newton.
Since the baby's due date was May 15, and Amy was scheduled to be induced on May 7, it was thought this would be a false start. When Alan and I were at Amy and Dean's house on Saturday, however, I knew there was no way this baby was going to wait to be delivered on May 7. Amy was so uncomfortable and the baby's position had obviously lowered.

Going back to the Sunday before, on April 19, Dean and Amy agonized a few days whether or not they would go to my sister's house in Paola for my family's Easter dinner, a two and a half hour drive. Dean would have to miss the first performance of the year of the Mennonite Men's Chorus at Bethany College in Lindsborg. He finally decided he had better accompany Amy to Paola in case she went into early labor, a highly unlikely prospect given the first two pregnancies, but not impossible as we were to find out.

I jokingly said to Alan on Saturday, the 25th, on the way home from spending the day with Amy, "Wouldn't it be something if Dean had to miss the Mennonite Men's Chorus performance in Newton tomorrow 'cause Amy might go into labor?" I'm not sure that, in the 15-18 years he's sung in the chorus, he has missed a performance. This year he missed both.

When we called our son, Mark, and his girlfriend, Tammy, at about 6 p.m. Sunday evening, Amy had dilated to 4 cm. When Tammy, who is an RN, heard that, she said, "She'll deliver within the next 12 hours. She was right, as April arrived at 3:38 a.m. Monday morning, almost exactly 12 hours from the time they arrived at the hospital. Amy called us around 5:00 a.m.

Praise God, it was so good to hear everyone was doing fine, though tired. These words from Psalm 71 came to mind: "You have taught me ever since I was young, and I still tell of your wonderful acts. Now that I am old and my hair is gray, do not abandon me, God! Be with me while I proclaim your power and might to all generations to come." (v. 17-18) I consider it a precious calling as Mother and Grandmother to pass on to our children and grandchildren the wonderful story of God's grace given to us through His Son, Jesus.
It was certainly God's grace, showered on me through friend's prayers, that brought me through last week. Anticipating the amount of energy I would need to care for Alana and Derek, and wanting it to be a joyful and blessed time of helping Amy and her family adjust to the addition of April to the family, I wondered how I would manage. But why did I spend one minute concerning myself with the details? The week went great one moment, one hour, one day at a time. The neuropathy pain that so often keeps me from enjoying daily life took a backseat to the joy of having April Mae join the family circle, and of caring for the family's needs as they adjust to the added responsibilities. I came home yesterday, May 3, feeling exceptionally tired, but fine otherwise.

We're so very thankful Dean and Amy are Christian parents who are teaching Alana, Derek, and April to know about, and love, God and Jesus. Each morning Alana and Derek listen as Mommy read's a children's Bible story, Daddy read's a Bible verse, and prayer is said before each meal and again at bedtime. One of Alana's favorite songs is "I have the Joy of Jesus in My Heart." It warms my heart to hear her sing it.

Now, it's time for some pictures. I may get carried away and start with some from Easter to the present.
Easter Sunday we met Mark & Tammy at the Flying J in Emporia, halfway between them and us. The Flying J is actually a busy truck stop but has an inexpensive, good-food buffet. We found out it probably wasn't busy because it was the first day for the "No Smoking" law in Emporia.
On the way to Paola, April 19, we drove through the Kansas Flint Hills right after "burn week," when they burn off the old growth to make room for new. It's quite a sight to see the blackened hills. By now, after the rains we've had, it will be green and lovely. I hope we drive to Topeka soon, to see Mark and Tammy, so we can drive through the hills blooming with wild flowers.

Cousins: Our daughter, Amy, is the uncomfortable one sitting on the right. Nancy Miller, standing center, Alissa Unruh, standing left, and from left to right: Savannah Unruh, Hannah Miller, Rachel Miller, & Avery Unruh.

Savannah, Rachel, and Hannah entertained us with their beautiful singing.
The day went much too quickly.
We missed our dear nephew, David, Savannah's dad, who passed away suddenly in January at age 39.

Corey Miller relaxes while the three youngest family members work out a toy dilemma: Madilyn McCool (my sister's great granddaughter), Derek and Alana Suderman, our two grandchildren at that time.

My sister, Jean McCool, admires her youngest greatgrandson, Hunter McCool, with our sister, Mary Jane Funk. Mary Jane's daughter, Denise White and husband, Jim, live in Las Vegas with their children, Kurt and Alexa. Unfortunately, we only see them about once a year.

L-R: Our sister-in-law, Edith Unruh (mother of the late David Unruh), Sisters Mary Jane Funk, Jean McCool, and Moi. We have some great times, just we four meeting at Jean's house, during the summer when we can enjoy antique shopping, eating out or cooking together, going for walks, and being silly "girls" again.

Back home on Sunday, the 26th, we're having fun in the basement waiting out the tornado warning. Alana and Derek like to ride the hobby horse. Alana named him Honey Pie, after Strawberry Shortcakes's horse. Derek is hanging on, but he gets on and rides Honey Pie by himself.

There's always time for snacks at Papa and Nana's house. We usually have Whales and raisins, grapes, cheese, or apple slices. Animal crackers are a big hit as well. There are always plenty of toys, crumbs, and other messes to clean up after Alana and Derek go home. These are the small things that store up precious memories for the years to come.

Big sister and brother are wearing their "billboard" shirts. Mommy made sure she packed them (the date should be the 27th on this pic). They were excited before sis was born about having a baby brother or sister. On our way from the hospital to our house I asked Alana what the baby's name would be if she had a sister. "Anita," she said. I asked, "What if it's a baby brother?"

"I don't know," she said, "but it has to start with a D."

Proud Daddy with his boy and girls. Derek, at two, is a little young to express his opinion about what he'll be when he grows up. Alana, 4, on the other hand, is going to be a cowgirl and ride a horse so she can round up cattle for her daddy. On Saturday, May 2, they put on their cowboy hats and boots and went out to watch Daddy work cattle with Grandpa and Grandma Suderman.

Daddy's girls, at home and doing fine.

Loving and admiring little sis, "Apa," as Derek says.

The best time of all is at the end of the day, when Daddy's in from the farmwork, Mommy's got the dishes done, baths taken, and all can sit down together for a story, cup of milk, then brush teeth and get tucked into bed. Derek sometimes sneaks out of bed and spends a little extra time by himself with Daddy and Mommy. Alana loves her stuffed animals who spend the night with her.

In Psalms 127:3, 4 we read: "Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth." So true.
We've been blessed twice, first with a son and daughter, and now our grandchildren. Since I have so much to learn yet about life, it's hard for me to think of myself as a grandmother. But everything I've experienced and learned up to this point could not have prepared me for the joy I'm experiencing in our grandchildren.