That’s Joshua before we could see him. I was probably about 6 months pregnant and feeling very comfortable about eating up a storm at the picnic.
We were in a crazy time of turmoil when Sarah was born, trying to save up for a down payment for our first house, living with my Mom, trying to learn how to home-school, yuck! Then, out of no-where…I’m pregnant. There are only 13 1/2 months between Sarah and Josh. I know, lots of others have had many children close, but it felt like a lot to me to have 4 kids, 6 years old and under. Davey turned 6 the day Josh was born, Bethany was 4 and Sarah was only 1 and a couple of months.
We needed a new obstetrician and a friend recommended a wonderful doctor at the University of Michigan Hospital. He was a specialist in high risk pregnancy, and infertility. We just called him up because of her recommendation and he always joked about taking me on as patient because I didn’t fit either of those categories.
Turns out I really needed him, because Josh’s heart rate kept plummeting in labor and the doc just got him out superfast. I didn’t even see him fully as they whisked him over to the other side of the room to work on him. David put his head down on my shoulder as we listened to the team work on Josh to make sure he was breathing. I asked David what we just had and he said, ‘A Smurf’. He was definitely blue for the first few minutes.
What a sweet baby he was. I could talk to him and just say hi Josh, or snap my fingers and he would just grin from ear to ear. His Uncle Brian named him Dr. Grin for a while because he just never stopped smiling.
When we bought our construction project abandoned house, Josh wasn’t even born yet and we had to work on it for a year before we could even move in. It was so messy with nails and sawdust and piles of wood and drywall, I really didn’t want him to get down in the mess and learn to walk. We had this really old-fashioned and totally unapproved baby walker that was so fast and slick that Josh could manoeuver it really well and fly all over the house and I was able to keep him relatively safe and clean from construction materials.
When we bought our house, we had this great attitude going in to the project. Since we had a goal to be debt free and build our own house for our own family, without loans as much as possible, we needed to do whatever it took to make that happen. If that meant waiting for furniture, carpet, conveniences, then that’s what we had to do. It was an adventure and the kids were in it with us. We were like pioneers. When the pump went out, we bathed in the lake. When we didn’t pay the utility bill because we bought too many building supplies at Home Depot, we just went without hot water till we had the money. We didn’t have any kind of kitchen for several years, and we found out that it is very possible to go without a lot of things if you’re determined and have the right attitude. Really it would have been so much easier to get a giant mortgage and have mostly everything done right away, but where’s the triumph in that. We scrimped, went without and came out way ahead in the long run.
We used this little blue plastic bathtub for 8 out of 9 babies. For some reason a bathtub was one of the last conveniences that we bought. Our bathroom is big and uniquely designed, but had only a shower. It’s not too exciting to tell your 2-year-old to get tough and get in the shower because that’s what big people do!
That’s a perfect example, though, of our ‘lets get it done, do what it takes’ attitude. I doesn’t hurt a baby to have a shower, it just isn’t the nice pampering that you like to do with a little one. When Josh was really little and we had no kitchen, we used to use styrofoam plates and bowls all the time. Well I must have started feeling ecologically guilty, so I bought each kid their own set of dishes, like Batman and Barbie etc. and taught them how to wash their own set every day in the bathroom.
We weren’t really pioneers, but we felt like it. We’re so much softer now. If the cable goes out or my cell phone runs out of battery, it’s a big problem!
What a beautiful child he was! I can only say that because I didn’t create him. He was a gift given to us by God. I’m so glad for photo studios who can take such good pictures because photography is not my talent. It was well worth the money to preserve our memories.
Josh was certainly born during a more challenging time in our lives. I hope it helped to shape him and give him more strength of character than if he’d been born into an easier time of life where everything was handed to him on a platter, not that there are any platters around here still, just ask the other kids.
You can tell that I haven’t gotten too extravagant when I let 3 little boys go to the store and I give them $1.50 to spend. It turns out that they wanted something to split that cost $2.00 and they asked for a discount. The store owner said he’d give it to them if they each picked up 5 pieces of trash in his parking lot. Cool deal. I’m proud of them.
You can see that by the time he was about 2 years old, we still didn’t have carpet. I called them soft wood floors (aka. plywood), but he had toys and we had fun.
When you work on a major project together as a family, I think it teaches you how to work together, it bonds you together and give develops wonderful, fun memories for a lifetime.