Thursday, August 31, 2006

While I'm writing about pregnancy...

I can feel the baby now! :)

And just in case you ever wondered, forgetting to eat and doing strenuous lifting, vacuuming, etc. all morning is a really bad idea. I had a lovely time in Sam's club today nearly fainting. Gabe had to walk down to come pick me up because I was too dizzy to walk well, much less drive. That was a pretty scary experience. I think it was sheer determination that kept me from actually fainting - my vision blacked out and my hearing got all fuzzy, and all I could think was "don't faint, what will happen to Jonathan??" So I didn't, but gee, that was pretty close. Thankfully the people at Sam's club were really wonderful (and thankfully I had been at the photo kiosks, so there were lots of people around to ask for help.) They sat me down in a chair, brought me a phone and water and a baked pretzel and were generally kind and caring. I was quite impressed with their response. Yay Sam's! Everyone should shop there now. :)


Well, we did it. I actually wrote the check for the down payment on Sue's midwifery services for this baby. Today was my first "official" appointment - the one where she asks all her questions and I ask all mine and we make sure that we feel comfortable doing this together. We waited awhile to do this, because we were still thinking about possible doctors, possible dual care, possible lots of things - and then when we finally decided to go ahead with this appointment, another client went into labor. :) But today was good, and I feel peaceful and happy and confident that we are making the right decision. It is a good feeling.

Sue is so completely and utterly unlike me. She is scatterbrained (and I mean, really scattered). If you need something and she says she'll call you back, just plan to call her again later in the day. She won't remember to call you. On the other hand, she will tell you this straight up, laugh a bit, and add the admonition "if you're in labor and you call and I tell you I'm with a client and will call you back, just say 'Sue, I'm in labor!' and that will definitely get my attention!"

She loves to talk to people. Her entire day, all day, is made up of talking with people, and she just enjoys it. In a doctor's office you have to have all your questions ready to spit out in under five minutes. Sue will give you an hour or more, (this initial visit was two!) and she never looks at her watch. She radiates confidence and calm and kindness and humor, and that doesn't even begin to describe it. She is just the exact sort of person who you would want helping you in labor. I'm so glad she'll be there during mine.

There is just one major thing (at this point) which could change our plans, and that is the result of an ultrasound that I'll be having in a few weeks. We need to make sure that the placenta has implanted high enough in the uterus. If it implants over the c-section scar, then we'll be dealing with placenta accreta. If it implants over the uterus opening, that is placenta previa. Both would mean a planned c-section. So if you think of it, could you please pray (without ceasing!) that the ultrasound will show a placenta nicely high and out of the way? Thanks!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Jonathan is in a hugging stage. It is such a nice change, and I'm reveling in it for as long as it lasts. He doesn't usually hug us when we ask, (although this, too, is starting to change!) but he'll come up on his own and offer hugs quite often. He'll also crawl up in my lap with a book in hand to ask me to snuggle and read to him, and when he is tired and I pick him up he'll wrap his arms around my neck and lay his head on my shoulder. It is the sweetest thing you'll ever experience, I think, having your little toddler offer cuddles.

Our verbal child

Jonathan has had a language explosion in the past three weeks or so. It really has been pretty amazing. So lately I've been keeping a list of words he knows, and I thought I'd share them here. We're so proud of him. :)

Up (although usually he says “down” for this too)
Get down
Who’s that?
What’s that?
Where go? (i.e. where did she go?)
No (quite often this comes out as no no no no no!!!!!!!)
Night night
Knock knock (usually accompanied by banging on the nearest door!)
All done
The end

He’ll also repeat a lot of the things we say – he won’t say them on his own, but his imitation is getting very good.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

It's MY life...

so why is it that people seem to feel free to tell me how I ought to live it?

Gabe and I took Jonathan to the pool this evening. Another family was already there, splashing away. I know the mother slightly, having passed and talked a bit on walks with our kids. Her husband was there too, reading a paper. I ended up sitting next to him, since I wasn’t swimming (my bathing suit doesn’t fit anymore, and besides, I was tired!) :) He was a nice man, and once finished with his paper he struck up a conversation with me. That was fine with me until we got to this part:

“So do you guys want to have more kids?”
“Yes, definitely.”
“Oh? How many?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” I laughed, “lots. We’ll see what God sends us.” (I should mention that I knew that this was a Christian family, from my interactions with the mother. So I didn’t think that this answer would be considered too bizarre.)

His response?
“I disagree with you.”

I laughed and said, “well, most people do.” And as far as I was concerned, the conversation could have ended there. Scratch that - it should have ended there. Only he didn’t let it drop. He told me all about how hard it is financially to have lots of kids. He told me about how much work it is to throw birthday parties for kids. He told me about his friends at church who have been sterilized so they can’t have any more kids. He told me about how his wife works part time and volunteers at church and wouldn’t have time to do all these important things if she had more kids. And I nodded my head and said inane things like, “yeah, I see your point.” The last thing I wanted was an argument – in fact I really just wanted to end the conversation and go home, only I couldn’t figure out how to do it nicely.

There was a pause for a moment and I thought he was finished. But then he opened it up again by asking, “So do you think it is a sin to use birth control?”

Good grief! This is a man I met fifteen minutes ago!!!

I said something about how no, I didn’t think it was a sin, I just believed that God had told us to have lots of children.

Thankfully, right about then I was saved by outside events that required us to head home right away. But the exchange stuck with me and made me think. Why did my answer to his question cause such a discussion (dare I say: lecture?) to ensue? Why does a perfect stranger feel he has the right (and perhaps obligation) to set me straight on the glories of birth control?

My best guess is this: I think that people feel threatened by my belief in this area. Let me give another example. Have you ever observed a conversation between a homeschool mom and a public school mom? Here is what often happens:

PSM: So where do your kids go to school?
HSM: Actually, we homeschool.
PSM: Lots of stuff about why public school is good for kids and is perfect for their family and really actually necessary.
HSM: Um, ok. (thinking: ok, but we homeschool!)

It felt a lot like that today. For some reason, no matter the intent behind the statement, people seem to think that having lots of babies implies judgement on those who choose not to. Just like people who don’t homeschool tend to think that those who do imply judgement on them. And the fact is that neither is true – but I don’t know how to get around the assumption. Gabe and I want lots of children, and we believe God has called us to do so. This by no means requires that we think everyone who doesn’t share our belief is a “sinner”! Gabe and I want to homeschool, and we believe that is the best we can do for our children. This does not require that we think everyone who disagrees is a horrible person.

But the fact is that I only know one or two people on the “other side” of those issues who don’t misunderstand us. I wish there were an easy, non-combative way to disabuse people of the notion that my belief for myself means I’m judging them. But I don’t know what it is.

Next time, I think I’ll just tell the stranger “oh no, we’re going to have 1.5 kids and a dog. Any more than that is just insane, don’t you think?”

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Have I mentioned, lately, how cool my husband is?

Shorn sheep

Some children soothe themselves to sleep cuddling a special animal or blanket, or by sucking their thumb, or listening to music. Our child pulls out his hair. Since he was developing a rather large bald patch, we decided to try a buzz cut. Maybe he'll have forgotten this particular habit by the time we let it grow back in.

In any case, here is our little future marine:

And here is a smile!

I'm kind of sad because I loved his hair...but this probably is the best idea for now. Gabe thinks it is seriously cool. What is it with guys and buzz cuts???

Child of the two thousands?

Gabe and I are children of the 80s/90s. We never say "yes". We know what it means, but we never actually say it.

Jonathan may never learn what it means at all.

Yeah. We're working on that. ;)

This morning's conversation

Jonathan followed a somewhat complex instruction this morning.

Emily: Yay Jonathan! You are a very smart child.

Jonathan: Yeah!!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Speaking of "no no no"...

Jonathan has discovered that "no" and "yes" are opposites of each other. Yesterday Gabe said "no no no" to Jonathan about something, and Jonathan responded with "yeah yeah yeah!" and a big grin. Rolling on the floor laughing isn't particularly good for discipline, but sometimes you just can't help yourself! :)

Book recommendation for toddlers

And for parents, because it really is fun for you too. :)

Paddiwak and Cozy, by Berlie Doherty.

First we're introduced to Paddiwak -

"a prince of a cat
a hearthrob, a bit of a snob,
very smart in his neat black suit
and his little white shirt
and socks."

He's quite happy being the prince of his household, until one day Sally brings home a big blue box, and inside is another cat -

"But what a cat!
A laugh of a cat,
a fat, round kind-of-a-dumpling cat
with a black bit here and a white bit there,
floppy round the tummy
and great big paws."

Sally thinks that the cats can be friends, but Paddiwak soon disabuses her of that notion -

"Paddiwak hissed and arched his back,
fluffed up his tail, and spit-spit-spat,
ran through his cat door
out in the rain,
'I'm never, never, never going home again!' "

This refrain continues throughout the rest of the story, as the new cat tries to find hiding places throughout the house and Paddiwak sulks in various places outside.

And no, I won't tell you anymore because I want you to go read it yourself. The text is just a delight, with a rhythmic musicality that makes it almost dance off your tongue. Jonathan loves the repetition - every time we get to the "never, never, never" part he says "no! no! no!" :)

I found it at the library, and it is now on my list of "books that we ought to own".

Friday, August 18, 2006

Ok, I'm convicted now.

Go read Amy's post on simplicity, financial independence, and reducing expenses. And think about it, and chew on it. The part that really got me was this bit:

"I think it can be boiled down to two key behaviors: staying home and practicing contentment. Leaving the house costs money and discontentment costs you more than just money."

Ok. I needed to hear that. Thanks Amy!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Blood and guts

Well, actually just blood. But there has been plenty of it around this house lately! Yesterday Jonathan slipped while crawling up some stairs and hit his chin. Gabe carried him back to the house screaming and bleeding all over everything. I'm really not quite sure what caused all the bleeding, since once we got him cleaned up it was actually a very tiny wound on his chin. We think maybe something in his mouth was hurt, too, but by the time we could try to look it seemed to have stopped bleeding. Anyway, it is very hard to look in a screaming, squirming toddler's mouth when he doesn't want you to. It took him quite awhile to calm down, and we ended up putting on a Baby Einstein dvd to distract him. That dvd works miracles with sad toddlers!

Then today, somehow Jonathan tripped as he headed out our front door to play, and instead of catching himself with his hands, he caught himself with his face on the metal watering can. Serious ouch. There is a cut over his right eye and an incredible bruise over the bridge of his nose. The poor little guy cried and cried and cried. And his poor mother rather felt like looking around and calling "Mommy?!?!" for someone to come fix this situation! Only I'm the mommy now, so I had to fix it, and I couldn't really. Nothing quite brings that fact home like a hurt and inconsolable child.

So we watched Baby Einstein again, while I tried to hold ice to his very swollen and bleeding cut and he tried to avoid it at all costs. I think between hitting his head and cutting new teeth, he must have had quite a headache this afternoon, because he just never recovered. I even got out the sling again because he just needed to be held all the time. It was tiring, but in a way it was nice because he very rarely needs me to cuddle him like that anymore, and I've missed it.

My goal for tomorrow: no blood. :)

Sloth vs. rest

I've been doing some reading yesterday and today that has brought back to mind a question I've been wrestling with for, oh, most of my adult life.

How can you tell the difference between sloth and rest?

When is the desire to "just sit down" a true need for rest, and when is it the first step down the yucky path of sloth and ennui?

I've never found the answer to this. Sometimes it seems like there is no concrete answer - that each day and each occasion must be treated differently. But if that is so, there must be some way to discern what you're dealing with on each occasion, and I'm not sure what that is.

I'd love to get some thoughts from all you readers. Comment, please? I'm sure I can't be the only one who has thought about this.

Did I mention that I'm feeling very pregnant?

It is hot. I am exhausted. I am quite convicted of the fact that I ought to take my cranky son to the park to let him run off some steam...but I don't think I have enough steam to get there.

I just want to lie on the couch with a big glass of iced tea and not have my toddler try to share and spill it all over himself. Is that really so much to ask??? ;)

Tooth count:



Friday, August 11, 2006

Conspiracy theory

All the pregnancy books say that once you're about half-way through your pregnancy, you should never never never lie on your back. Something about a vein that takes blood/oxygen to the placenta getting squished, so it isn't good for the baby. So, I have dutifully attempted to stop sleeping on my back, which is no small feat when that's the way you've slept for most of your life.

Until tonight, when I realized something.

As soon as you go to the hospital to labor and deliver the baby, they make you lie on your back. For hours.

Logically: It can't be both awful to lie on your back during pregnancy and essential to lie on your back during labor.

It's a conspiracy, I tell you.

Why you shouldn't read the Bible before bedtime

Because when Gabe read Proverbs 15:23 to me last night, what I heard was "a man has joy in a lap dancer." Which, while perhaps true, probably isn't what I was supposed to take away from the proverb.

Go look it up. :)


Usually I don't post political stuff on my blog, because the main point of this space is to share my life and Jonathan's growing up with friends, family, and whomever drops by.

But I read this article this morning, and it is really good. If you have time, read it (it is only two typed magazine pages) and see what you think.

I don't want to start a controversy firestorm, so feel free to not comment. ;)

Morning sicklies

My morning sickness returned with rather a vengeance this morning. Not only is this extremely discouraging, it is also a bit worrisome as I'm only just returning to my prepregnancy weight (I lost a lot when I was sick those many weeks) and I'm supposed to be gaining now, not losing. But nothing looks, smells, or tastes good, and changing diapers is horrendous. So could you please pray that this is a fluke and will be over soon? Thanks!

Thursday, August 10, 2006


It is amazing how much difference it makes.

Yesterday I spent the day wishing it was over. I didn't want to do my chores, I didn't want to play with Jonathan, I didn't want to make dinner - I was just too doggone tired to think. All I wanted was for Gabe to come home so that I could be "off duty" and go to bed.

I actually went to bed at 8pm and was asleep at 8:30pm. It was a little strange - my poor pregnant bladder woke me up four times in the night, which was weird. I kept looking at the clock thinking "huh...I guess I really can go back to sleep again."

Gabe was wonderful and took himself off to the bus stop in the morning without waking me or Jonathan. I woke up at 7am, about five minutes before Jonathan began stirring.

It was glorious: nothing hurt.

And today has been fantastic. It is 3pm and my chores are done - I'm even thinking about doing a few extra ones since I have time. Jonathan and I did a few errands this morning, including going to the library (which he really enjoys, now!) and then spent some time in the park for mom's group. We both had a nap (yes, even after 10.5 hours of sleep last night, I still napped with Jonathan this afternoon!) and I'm reveling in the fact that I'm not exhausted at 3pm. Gabe might just come home to a smiling wife today. :)

While I suppose I can't really go to bed at 8:30pm every night, I do think it might be smart for me to remember what a difference this made, and try to go to bed on time for awhile!

What we've been doing lately...

Eating snacks in the new "big boy" seat. Muffins are Jonathan's new favorite snack. Actually he would like to have them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It causes much weeping and gnashing of teeth (literally) when he can't have them for every meal. :)

Playing with playdough (and occasionally eating it).

Attempting to dig up a tree by the roots. Here is the root:

Jonathan got interested in this particular root when three of the neighbor boys decided to try to dig it up. He watched them, fascinated, for over an hour (until they lost interest). Then he started to try to do it himself. :) It is so cute watching him scratch at the dirt around it with little sticks (exactly like what the big boys were doing!) and then tug on it with his whole body weight. No effect yet, but this has created hours of entertainment. In fact, this is why my house is reasonably clean right now. ;)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Book review

Riddle-Master, by Patricia A. McKillip

Good fantasy writing has to have some sense of reality to anchor it. I love fantasy, and I love being taken to the heights of imagination in a good story – so long as one foot remains firmly planted on the ground. There has to be a connection to life as I know it in order for the fantasy to work and to hold my interest. I doubt I’m alone in this.

Riddle-Master, a trilogy that is really one long book, starts out with great promise. Within the first 20 pages I was caught. I liked the characters, I liked the setting, and I wanted to know more. As the story developed, I came to care deeply about Morgon, the Prince of Hed with stars on his forehead, as he journeyed his way to the answer to the Star-Bearer’s riddle. He was a tormented man as well as a powerful one, and he drew you into his life and his questions. The book ended on a cliff-hangar as compelling as any I’ve read, making me want to turn the page immediately to find out what happened.

Luckily, I was reading this book last weekend while I was quite sick, and Gabe was taking care of Jonathan and letting me lie in bed and read :) But as I continued, I was frustrated to find that the rest of the book just didn’t deliver on the original promise. The second book followed Raederle, Morgon’s promised wife, as she sets out looking for Morgon. It was much slower than the previous chapters, which I suppose can be forgiven as it was the “beginning” of another book. But I never fell in love with Raederle. She is a nice girl, and had she just remained a nice girl in love with Morgon, I think I would have appreciated her more. Instead, suddenly we find that she is the heir of “power” – of a sort that isn’t really explained, and which grows and changes to fit whatever situation she finds herself in. It is a break with reality that I found jarring – I kept wanting to say “wait, she can’t really do that! How did she learn how to do that? That’s cheating!” It is a bad sign when you want to argue with the author.

Unfortunately, this new style was only a forerunner for the rest of the novel. Eventually we are returned to Morgon’s story, and his and Raederle’s stories blend into one in the third book. Both characters have unimaginable “power” that they can use in ways that defy imagination, much less reality. Again, they seem to be created to match the momentary need, at least at the beginning. By the last half of the book the entire story has degenerated into an endless game of mind power, with no basis for why or how any of it is happening, and no way to know who will win or lose. Every main player in the final “battle” is using mind power, and since there seem to be no rules for what it is or how it can be used, there is no way to know where you are in the battle or who will win, or even what the point is anyway. You no longer care even about Morgon, because he has fundamentally ceased to be a man.

I would recommend the first book of the trilogy, except for the fact that you won’t be able to stop there. And I think you’ll be disappointed if you continue to the end.

Too funny to miss

Check out Dooce's post here.

Keeping house

Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer has a neat idea for tip-sharing, and I finally thought of something, so I'm going to participate this week. :)

My secret weapon of keeping house is a recipe box filled with 3x5 cards. Every single housekeeping chore I can think of is written on a little card. White cards for Monthly (or less frequent) chores, yellow cards for Weekly chores, and blue cards for Daily chores. There are dividers for months and days of the month. Then when I've done a chore, it simply gets re-filed in the appropriate slot and I can forget about it until it comes up again.

Here's the beauty of the system: I never have to think about what I ought to have cleaned/be cleaning/clean next week. Each day I check my handy-dandy card box, and the day's chores are there in front of me.

Obviously, I don't always use this system perfectly. There are days when only the blue cards get done, and there are days when even those don't all get done! Such is life. But I don't have to worry about it, or try to hold everything I haven't done yet in my head because I know that that little yellow card will come up again next week, and maybe next week I'll have more energy.

This has been a life-saver as I've adjusted to keeping house with a newborn, then a toddler, and now as I'm pregnant with no energy and (evidently) no extra brain cells to spend on remembering to change the sheets or scrub the shower. :)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Jonathan HATES green beans.

It is very hard to make a child eat something he does not want to eat - even if it is "just one small bite". And even if he completely understands what you're telling him.

It is easier to give in to your toddler's tantrum than it is to stick to your guns and ruin dinner for everyone.

Gabe and I are more stubborn than our son.

I'm positive that Jonathan must get this stubborn streak from Gabe. :)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Do we have a cute kid, or what?

And while I'm at it...

Here are some photos of the newly organized closet:

I feel like I'm finally getting a handle on our house. It is nice.

I have a pretty house

We got curtains for the kitchen at IKEA the other day, and this morning Gabe watched Jonathan while I got them hemmed and hung - aren't they pretty?

Friday, August 04, 2006


For the past 8 weeks or so, I haven't wanted to eat eggs. Well, actually I haven't even wanted to smell eggs, which meant Gabe had to go without, too. Poor man. But this morning, just like that, I wanted an egg. And when I say "want" what I mean is something like "I absolutely MUST have a fried egg RIGHT NOW or the world will come to an end!"

It sure tasted good. :)

Pregnancy is so weird.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Prayer request:

I’m pretty tired. I’m officially in the second trimester, and I think I’m feeling a little bit better, but I’m just tired. And the “yuck everything I can think of to eat sounds awful” problem, while diminished, is definitely not gone. So that is hard.

But I have a toddler who needs me. Right now, evidently, he needs me desperately, all the time. And I also have a job at church that needs more time than I can give it, and which I feel like I’m not doing very well right now. It is likely that this is just my own perception, since Fr. David was really pleased with my report at our last meeting…but I just feel sort of sluggish and thus continually behind in what I think I should be getting done in that area.

So basically I have a job, a toddler, a house to keep clean, a garden to weed and water, a husband to care for and love, and a new life to sustain – and that very often feels pretty overwhelming. Particularly this week. So can you please pray that God will give me the energy I need to do it? Many thanks.
Remember those crazy and huge tomato plants in my backyard? Well, not only did they produce tomatoes for normal consumption in salads, and giving quite a few away to friends, they also produced about two entire BIG pots of tomatoes that have been and are being cooked down into spaghetti sauce. It is pretty cool to be able to make spaghetti sauce from my very own tomatoes.


Yesterday I took Jonathan to the library, and for the first time we headed over to the children’s corner to pick out some books just for him. Usually library trips have been more of a “grab and go” experience, but I thought he might be old enough to enjoy looking around this time – and boy did he! He loved the little chairs, just his size. He loved taking books off the shelf, and to my surprise he did not simply try to unload all the shelves at once. He would choose a book, carry it over to a chair, settle himself, grin happily, and spend a few minutes looking at the book. Then it was off to choose another one. It was so much fun for me to watch! I picked out about 10 books for him (a couple were of his choice) to take home, and he sat on the counter and watched with interest while we checked them out. Then he looked at one on the car ride home. And this morning we sat down on the couch with juice and coffee and books galore, and he actually sat reasonably still and listened and looked at the pictures while I read “Petunia” to him. Have you all read Petunia? It is a very good book and you should do so.

It is so fun to see him growing up like this! My son likes going to the library! :)

That is more like it!

Aren't they pretty?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


This morning I was dancing with Jonathan in my arms, and singing along to the music. And then he started singing too! Which of course made me cry because I'm pregnant and hormonal and my son is singing! so that I couldn't sing with him anymore. But I could kiss him and love him and revel in the fact that my son is growing up to love music. Maybe you have to be a musician to understand how very very much this matters.

I'm amazing

Even though I am pregnant, the mother of a cranky toddler, and woke up with a cold this morning, the closet is ORGANIZED.

It's only been on my list for about two months. Aren't you impressed? ;)