Category: Our Family (page 3 of 4)

Welcome, Josephine Joy!

At long last, she’s here! She kept us waiting nine days past our due date, but on Wednesday, Josephine Joy made her debut and was greeted by adoring fans:

All Four | Little Book, Big Story
Lydia and Josephine | Little Book, Big Story
Sarah and Josie | Little Book, Big Story

I love to hear the stories behind baby names, so I’ll share hers with you: we loved the link to Joseph, one of our favorite figures in Scripture, and we couldn’t resist the literary nod to Little Women. Joy is my mom’s middle name and, combined with Josephine, means, “Jehovah increases joy,” which is perfect, because in granting us another daughter, that is exactly what God has done—he has increased our joy. There are layers to this baby’s name, my friends.

And now, I’m signing off for a bit. There’s a baby to be snuggled, after all!

Nesting

The baby blanket is done; the countdown is on. With only a half dozen days left until this baby is due, our house looks like a nest built twig by twig—if the twigs were baskets of small, pink laundry and empty chocolate bar wrappers.

My husband is diligently working his way through a to-do list that mysteriously grows longer with every item he checks off, and the girls have decided that we must name the baby Rosamund Rose Rosenburg (they even insisted on it with adorable, mom-wilting eyes). I, meanwhile, am doing practical things like napping, re-reading Anne of Green Gablesand taking photos of myself in the mirror.

Though not typically given to taking photos of myself in the mirror, I had to take this one, because it is, in fact, the only photographic evidence that I was ever pregnant with this child. My belly crept into a few photos taken for this blog, but otherwise, there is a noticeable lack of pictures of this pregnancy (one of the perils of being the family photographer or, I suppose, the fourth child):

Any day now | Little Book, Big Story

But I like this photo: notice the birth ball to the left and the basket of unfolded onesies to the right? That, my friends, is a visual summary of the final weeks of pregnancy.

Knitted patchwork baby blanket | Little Book, Big Story

But to all of you who have sent us sweet wishes and prayers for the coming weeks: thank you! Thank you for the love you’ve all shown our family and for the kind inquiries into our life in these last few weeks. Your emails have warmed my heart the way a cup of Earl Grey does.

Before I disappear into newborn-land for a while, I wanted to give you all a glimpse at my plan for the next few months. I have one more Easter post to share with you later this week, as well as the results of the Slugs & Bugs giveaway (which you can still enter until 3/17!), and then—after sharing a baby photo or two, of course—I’ll retire quietly into life with a newborn, a toddler, two big sisters and one patient and loving husband. I hope to be back around mid-April with a slew of new posts for you, beginning with a review of one of my favorite books about a family of four sisters.

Knitted patchwork baby blanket | Little Book, Big Story

Until then, dear readers, thank you again. I am so grateful for you—even the ones I don’t know by name. May your Easter be filled with joy and song!


For the knitters out there, you can find the baby blanket pattern I used (and modified: I used worsted weight yarn and US 7 needles, and cast on 23 stitches per square) here.

A Baby Girl!!

When reviewing our ultrasound results yesterday, my doctor asked, “Do we know yet if it’s a boy or a girl?”

“A fourth girl!” I said, beaming.

He smiled, thought for a moment, and asked, “Have you ever read The Penderwicks?”

A medical degree is important and everything, but what I really look for in a doctor is the willingness to discuss literature in the exam room.

A baby blanket in the making | Little Book, Big Story

I’ve compared our family before to the Marches and—best of all—the Ingalls, and now I can add the Penderwicks to the list (I do hope this daughter is just a little bit like Batty). One more, and we’ll be the Bennetts!

Sarah has changed her name vote from “Robin Hood” to “Maid Marian,” Lydia has already mentioned “Mary . . . or maybe Laura,” and Phoebe has taken to marching around with the ultrasound photo, chanting “Bebe! Bebe!” Mitch has been to the bank to see about expanding our wee little home, and I have cast on a handful of stitches for a lovely and feminine baby blanket.

To celebrate, I’ll dig up a favorite post: “Ten Chapter Books to Read Aloud With Your Daughter.” That particular branch of our library is about to get stronger and richer:

10 Chapter Books to Read Aloud With Your Daughter | Little Book, Big Story

Starting a New Notebook

Remember our family notebooks? I’m starting a new one!

A few months ago we learned that our family is going to grow bigger by one! We have been thinking (and speaking) in exclamation points since then. I mean, Mitch and I are excited, but the enthusiasm of these two knows no bounds:

Little Book, Big Story

Phoebe has no idea what’s coming.

Little Book, Big Story

It’s too early to tell yet whether this will be our fourth daughter or first son, but the girls have put their vote in for a little brother, to be named either Robin Hood or Peter (as in, Peter “The High King of Narnia” Rosenburg). We, on the other hand, have only seriously discussed girl names. Whether they get their wish or not, we do know that this baby will be well-loved by not one, not two, but three big sisters.

To celebrate, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite books about babies:


How to Be a Baby, By Me the Big Sisterby Sally Lloyd-Jones

How to Be a Baby (By Me, the Big Sister), by Sally Lloyd-Jones | Little Book, Big Story

Sally Lloyd-Jones writes a charming manual on how to be a baby—from the perspective of a six-year-old girl. So funny, you’ll laugh a little too hard when reading it aloud (I’ll say only this: “baby jail”). (Read the full review.)


How God Makes Babies, by Jim Burns

How God Makes Babies | Little Book, Big Story

If you, like me, are a chronic over-explainer who dreads those “How did the baby get in there?” questions not because you fear you’ll say the wrong thing but because you fear you’ll say too much, this is a great book to have on hand. Jim Burns says just the right amount about babies: how they’re made, why they’re made, and what life will be like when they’re born. (Read the full review.)


God Gave Us You, by Lisa Tawn Bergren

God Gave Us You, by Lisa Tawn Bergren | Little Book, Big Story

On the other end of the spectrum is this sweet book. Perfect for little kids who don’t need a biology lesson, just a lesson in where they came from, God Gave Us You is a keeper. (Read the full review.)

When Do We Find Time to Read Aloud?

Be warned: I am not a spontaneous person. Some people might look at our daily routine and weep over the repetition of it all, but I’m cool with that. I find that repetition comforting and conducive to productivity, but if you find it dull and horrifying, then—fair warning—this particular post might not be for you.

When Do We Read Aloud? | Little Book, Big Story

Moving on: We try to read aloud at set times every day. As the kids grow and increase in number, these times have shifted, but they tend to stay centered around meals and bedtimes, because that is when we’re consistently together and typically seated.

I advocate for establishing a habit of reading because I suspect that the odds of us all feeling like sitting down to read a chapter out of a chapter book at the same time are not good, and if it does happen, it probably won’t happen every day. And to keep kids interested in the overarching narrative of a chapter book, I think they need to hear a bit of the story every day.

So, because I like making lists and schedules and spread sheets, I’m sharing a sample day at Chez Rosenburg with you. This is not every day, but it is an average day. Enjoy!

Early Morning

Mitch and I wake at 5:00, make tea, and read our Bibles. He sometimes reads other things after that; I write. The girls play quietly or read or do what sounds like Riverdance upstairs from 6:30 until 7:00. And then the day officially begins.

Reading the Bible as a family | Little Book, Big Story

Lunch

I eat lunch with the older girls, then pile a mound of blueberries on Phoebe’s tray to keep her quiet and read a story aloud from the Jesus Storybook Bible. We used to read story bibles at bedtime, but as Lydia and Sarah have gotten older, we’ve advanced to more challenging evening readings. But I do like knowing that the little ones still get that big picture view of Scripture, so even if it means reading over Phoebe’s post-lunch screeching, I press on.

I consider it a success if we do this three times a week.

Naps

After lunch, I put Phoebe to bed (and read The Three Musketeers while I nurse her). Then Lydia, Sarah, and I tangle up comfortably on the couch and read a chapter from our current book (All-Of-A-Kind Familyby Sydney Taylor). I escort Sarah upstairs for her quiet time. She often insists on bringing our read-aloud book up with her, so she can look at the pictures and improvise her own story lines (loudly) while she rests.

When Do We Find Time to Read Aloud? | Little Book, Big Story

After Sarah is settled, I grab both my Bible and Lydia’s and join her in our room, where she does quiet time. We read a chapter together from my reading plan (currently the book of Matthew), underlining verses that stood out to us and talking (very minimally) about certain parts of the passage. This time quietly slipped into our schedule and has become one of the best parts of my day.

I leave her with stack of books and head out to the living room—or, on a nice day, the porch—where I read, nap, write, and/or plan art lessons until Phoebe wakes up and we kick off the afternoon.

Bedtime

Training Hearts, Teaching Minds | Starr Meade

While I put Phoebe to bed, Mitch takes Lydia and Sarah through our catechism reading (from Training Hearts, Teaching Minds), then reads to them from a chapter book (currently Half Magicby Edward Eager). I grab my sketchbook once Phoebe’s down and join Sarah on the floor. We draw together—often scenes from our book, since these books tend to be well above her reading level—while Lydia curls up with Mitch on the couch.

With all three girls down, the house feels bigger and quieter—until someone comes downstairs because someone else won’t stop talking and is keeping her awake. But eventually, the chirping upstairs drops to a murmur and Mitch and I drift out to the comfy chairs on the front porch or flop limply onto the couch and watch The West Wing.

When we go to bed, we bring books. I read another chapter in my Bible and then a novel until I can’t hold my eyes open anymore. Mitch reads or plays a game on the iPad until he can’t hold his eyes open anymore.

Lights out.

Reading the Bible as a family | Little Book, Big Story

That might look like a lot of reading, but these chapter-long chunks of time spent together have become the sweet points in our day, the marshmallows in our Lucky Charms, and we get in big trouble with the little people in our home when we skip them for any reason, however reasonable.

Occasionally, I add other things into our routine (like poetry at snack time), or we drop things for time to accommodate new babies or a change in school routines. But this is the way things look right now.