Monday, March 31, 2008

One of these days, the baby will have to come OUT.

This fact has been bothering me since the baby first got IN. The baby has to come out, and I have to decide where I want to be when that happens. At home with a midwife? At the hospital with a doctor and an anesthesiologist? The fact that my attempted home birth last time was just that - attempted - was a strong push in favor of the hospital. (Ha - I just re-read that - no pun intended!) The thought of trying again, and failing again; dealing with that kind of pain while transporting in the car - saints and angels preserve me from such a fate (and I mean that in all seriousness.) It's enough to make a girl want to check in and get an epidural BEFORE labor starts.

On the other hand, I've now had two truly lovely awful hospital births. An unexpected, frightening, and (in retrospect) unnecessary cesarean with Jonathan, and a bedside yelling match with a doctor over a repeat cesarean with Thomas - these are not experiences that give me warm fuzzy safe feelings when I think about birthing in hospitals.

Gabe and I have talked about it extensively. He has been pro-home-birth the whole time, although absolutely willing to let me choose the hospital if that was where I'd feel more comfortable. I have oscillated back and forth many times.

Last week I went to a two hour appointment with an obstetrician. I had high hopes for being able to work with this group of doctors, because I'd had a fantastic encounter with another doctor in their group. Unfortunately, he isn't doing OB care right now, and apparently the other doctors in the group don't all share his views. I walked away from the appointment realizing that I just don't think like these people. And I don't think that I can think like these people. And we are not going to be able to work together.

They consider birth to be a disaster just waiting to happen. So the concept of walking around during labor after my water breaks? Not remotely a possibility. Never mind the fact that this eases and speeds up labor. You have to be on a monitor so that every blip in the baby's heart rate (often caused by, oh, the mother lying on her back!) can be analyzed and worried over. If lying down causes labor to stop progressing, well, they'll be happy to speed things up with Pitocin (never mind that the use of Pitocin makes the risk of uterine rupture in a VBAC labor 4-7 times more likely). There is always the operating room down the hall if that happens.

The fact is that we just aren't ever going to see birth the same way. What I think is reasonable, doctors think is dangerous. What I think is dangerous, doctors see as "managing labor". Such a relationship can't work.

So I called Sue (our midwife). I should have called Sue first, because after a twenty minute conversation I went from being worried to feeling the return of confidence. I'd forgotten how good she is at helping you remember to be confident! The fact is that I've already had a successful VBAC, under seriously less-than-ideal circumstances. I'm considered the very best candidate for another successful VBAC - even obstetricians agree on that. All the reasons why we previously chose home birth and believed it to be the safest and best option are still true. And my body has delivered a baby now, so it knows what it is doing now. The likelihood of a repeat of my last labor is very, very slim.

I'm going to be ok. This baby will come out, and it will be ok. I'm going to spend the next five or six months working on believing that it will not only be ok, it will be beautiful and joyous and good. Hard, yes. But good.

I can do this. I can.

There's a BABY in Mommy's tummy!!!

So proclaims Jonathan, frequently and with great astonishment. He is fascinated by this fact, and frequently asks questions about the baby. He wants to know what her name is (we don't know the gender yet, but Jonathan is quite sure that she is a girl) and how big she is, and when she will come out. I got a few magazines with in utero pictures for him and he spends a surprising amount of time looking at them. Today he was looking at a photo of a woman in labor (pushing) and wanted to know why she was so sad. I told him that she wasn't sad, she was just working really hard to push her baby out. Of course then he wanted to know how the baby would come out. Sometimes I've worried about those kind of questions - they so often come out of nowhere - and wondered if I'd be able to answer them well. But I was really happy with the conversation today. It was good, and age-appropriate, and semi-clinical without being embarrassing. Jonathan was satisfied and I feel like we've started the first step down the road of good communication on an often tricky subject.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lullaby Slings

Lullaby Slings (my new business and Etsy shop) is up and running! I'm sure I'll be adding things and tweaking things for some time to come (I'd like to get a nice header up in the near future) but for now I'm happy with it and I have items up for sale!

Now, just to make me all smiley inside, will you all go take a look at Lullaby Slings? And if you want to really make me happy, come back and comment to let me know what you think! Constructive criticism is also appreciated, since I really do intend this to be a side business and I'd like to do it as well as possible.

Just to tempt you, here are some things I have up:

What do you think?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Template changes

I'm going to be monkeying around with the template for a few days - please excuse the funky layouts while I'm working!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Pregnancy fog

This year I am the clerk for my church's vestry meetings. These meetings can be very long - the last one was well over three hours. Sometimes I wonder how much good thinking is really happening in the last hour or so - don't you think eventually someone will start thinking "I'll just make a motion on this really quickly so that we can be done and move on and maybe, oh, adjourn sometime this week"?

In any case, I have incontrovertible evidence that my own brain wasn't doing much good thinking in the last hour of that meeting. Here is a note, taken intact from my vestry minutes:
Big current project: re-doing the project.
Yeah, I don't know what I meant, either.

Lemon Chiffon Pie

This kind of pie is one of my favorites. It is a family tradition with a fun story: Mom captured Dad's heart with it. :) It is also reasonably simple to make, and since it doesn't require baking, it is a good dessert for big dinners when there isn't enough space in the oven!

Lemon Chiffon Pie

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 c. sugar, divided
1/2 tsp. salt
4 egg yolks
1/3 c. lemon juice
2/3 c. water
1 t. grated lemon peel (just the very outer yellow part - don't use any of the white part)
4 egg whites
1/2 c. whipping cream, whipped
9" graham cracker crust

In saucepan, combine gelatin, 1/2 c. sugar, and salt. Beat together yolks, lemon juice, and water. Stir into gelatin mixture. Stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil and gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in lemon peel. Chill, stirring occasionally, until partially set. Beat egg whites until soft beaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/2 c. sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in gelatin mixture. Fold in whipped cream. Pile into cooled pastry shell. Chill until firm. Garnish with extra lemon zest. Enjoy!

Happy Easter!

We have our priorities straight around here: THIS is what Easter is all about. :)

No? Well how about this?

We had a lovely Easter weekend. It started on Saturday night with the Easter Vigil at our church. The Easter Vigil is probably what most of you think of as "Easter Sunday (morning)". Sometimes our church holds it at sunrise on Sunday, and sometimes at sunset on Saturday. This year it was at 7:05pm (sunset exactly!) and the service was designed to be very kid-friendly. The children of the parish were involved in the service, from Jonathan's job passing out taper candles as people arrived to the older children acting as lay readers and leading the prayers. It was well-organized and went beautifully, and the children did a marvelous job.

Easter Vigil is my favorite service of the year. After the long time of Lent, when we don't sing the Gloria, it tugs your heart to sing again, accompanied by everyone ringing bells or jingling their keys, "Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace, good will toward men. We praise Thee, we bless Thee, we worship Thee, we glorify Thee!" It is a good, solid, joyous time.

There were two baptisms this year, both children of friends of mine: Jessica's daughter Bess and Ashley's new baby daughter Savannah. Bess will turn four this summer, and she was so excited about her baptism! When Fr. David asked her if she wanted to be baptized, as part of the formal liturgy, she shouted out "I do!!!" One of the things I love about our church is that whenever we have a baptism, all the children get to crowd around the font so that they can see. Fr. David always asks for their help handing him the pitcher, or the towel, or the shell, so they are involved and feel very important.

We have a great group of children at our church right now. I have noticed for some time, but was particularly struck this weekend as I watched them not only lead the service beautifully, but also help each other with such kindness. Jonathan joined them for the children's service and around the font this year. I worried a little about how he'd handle that, and if he'd get trampled in the general stampede down the aisle, but I shouldn't have. The older children take the young ones under their wings, holding hands, lifting up to help them see, directing them back to their parents pews. They are kids, and they run around and yell outside, and sometimes make noise during the service, but they are kind and gentle and it gladdens my heart to see them displaying such good character qualities.

Sunday morning we were back at church for the Easter morning mass, followed by an egg hunt for the kids. I've decided that I don't like mass "run for it!" egg hunts - even though this one was reasonably well-organized. Jonathan just wasn't sure exactly how it worked or what he was supposed to do, so everyone else got to the eggs before he did. Even though I was trying to help him, we pretty much just followed everyone else around and spotted eggs only to watch another child pick it up. Luckily a few other adults were paying attention, and one of them had some extra eggs that he "hid" after most of the stampede was over, allowing the kids at the back of the herd to have the fun of finding them at their own pace! I appreciated that. Still, it made me appreciate the way my parents did eggs hunts for us even more - they assigned each child a color, and we could only "find" eggs in that color. I don't think there is a good way to do mass egg hunts with lots of children, but this method will probably work well for our family.

Sunday evening we had Easter dinner with Gabe's mom and sister. I had hoped for a bigger gathering, but this is what worked out and we had a good time. Gabe had requested a "feast!" for Easter dinner, and I think the result was quite nice!

This is the pretty table before we loaded it down with food:

We had ham in a honey glaze,


deviled eggs,

green salad, fruit salad,

rolls, and sparkling cider. And for dessert: Irish Brownies

and Lemon Chiffon Pie.

It was nice to have our gathering at my house this year, because it meant that both boys got naps on time and went to bed on time, rather than missing both (which often happens when we drive somewhere!) Besides, I really enjoy cooking and entertaining!

There were lots of enjoyable and memorable parts of this weekend, but the one that takes the cake happened during dinner. Jonathan held out his cup (previously filled with apple cider) and asked,
Daddy, can I have some more beer?
To which Abbey asked (while the rest of us choked on our own "beer")
How does he even know what that is?
Good times. :)

Friday, March 21, 2008

New baby on the way!

Not mine, silly, not yet!

Dy, from the ever humorous, ever positive, ever helpful Classic Adventures is working on bringing her fifth baby into the world. She's having a very long lead-up to full-on labor, but chances are good the baby will come today or this weekend. Would you please pray for an easy birth for her, and a healthy baby? Thanks!


And appropriate for Good Friday, I think.

Thanks to StandFirm for the link.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bible stories, toddler style

Sometimes Bible stories get awfully mixed up in a toddler re-telling. This morning Jonathan informed me that he was "looking for God." I asked where he thought God was, and since Jonathan wasn't sure, we had a short discussion about how we can't see God, but he is always with us. This reminded Jonathan of the story of Daniel, which he's been quite immersed in lately thanks to Veggie Tales songs.
Oh, like when Daniel was in the zoo, and the lions ate him, but God sang to him and said "don't cry, I'm with you."
Well, something like that, anyway. :)

Can you imagine

being married for 83 years?

Hat tip to Amy for the link - what an encouraging story!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

For the cooks among us

Am I the only one who walks past Williams and Sonoma at the mall and finds her feet irresistibly drawn back toward the store? Just to read the class offerings? And then just to check out that beautiful cake pan set so temptingly just inside the doorway? And then to the back of the store because sometimes, just occasionally, there is a steal on the clearance table?

Well, if I'm the only one, that's just fine, because I'll have a better chance of winning this giveaway. :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Important recall notice

I know that some of my readers enjoy wearing their babies, so I wanted to bring this to your attention:

Ellaroo infant slings are being voluntarily recalled, because the rings can bend and break, allowing the baby to fall out. The official recall notice with all the pertinent information is included below. If you bought an Ellaroo sing in the past 9 months, please check to be sure it is safe!

Also (shameless self-promotion here) if you're looking to buy a strong, safe sling (with rings safety tested up to 250 lbs!) in your favorite colors and for about half what an Ellaroo sling costs...let me know! I've just started a small business: Lullaby Slings, and I take custom orders. :)

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Office of Information and Public Affairs Washington, DC 20207

March 11, 2008
Release #08-215

Firm's Recall Hotline: (800) 483-4902
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

Ellaroo Recalls Infant Sling Carriers Due to Fall Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in
cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary
recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using
recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Ellaroo Ring Sling Baby Carrriers

Units: About 1,200

Manufacturer: Ellaroo LLC, of McKinney, Texas

Hazard: The aluminum rings on the sling carriers can bend or break. This
can cause the fabric to slip through the rings and infants to fall out
of the carrier.

Incidents/Injuries: Ellaroo has received four reports of the rings
bending and two reports of rings breaking. No injuries have been

Description: This recall includes Ellaroo Ring Sling baby carriers with
item numbers 2101 and 2102 printed on the outside of the product box.
The Ellaroo Ring Sling has a fabric carrier with two aluminum rings that
is worn by the user to carry an infant up to 35 pounds. The carriers are
sold in mahogany, mango stone, brasilia and malay color prints. Only
sling carriers with lot numbers 03/07 and 07/04 printed on a label,
under the size label, inside the Ring Sling are included in the recall.

Sold at: Juvenile product and department stores nationwide and online,
including, from June 2007 through February 2008 for about

Manufactured in: India

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the sling carriers and
contact Ellaroo for instructions on returning the carriers for a repair
or replacement Ring Sling.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Ellaroo at (800)
483-4902 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m CT Monday through Friday or
visit the firm's Web site at

Monday, March 10, 2008


I wrote this last night in a fit of self-pity and frustration. Actually it was much longer, but you can get the tone from this portion.
I know that my brand of "morning sickness" (never confined to the morning!) isn't nearly as bad as it could be. I have a friend who spent the last ten weeks vomiting everything she put in her mouth, so yes, I know that it could be much, much worse. I know that, and yet that knowledge isn't making me feel better about mine. There is nothing that makes me feel more defeated than a never-ending nausea, particularly on those days when it sends me running for the bathroom, puking up nothing.
Life can look pretty dismal sometimes, can't it? Last night it looked pretty awful. Parts of today were not much better - at one point I broke down and cried on the phone to Gabe. Pregnancy hormones can get to you no matter how hard you're trying! But it is no fun to live there, moping and feeling sorry for yourself. So today I tried to look at life a little differently. First item of business: admit that this particular aspect of pregnancy really stinks. It isn't as bad as it could be, but that doesn't negate the fact that it is hard and no fun to feel nauseous most of the day. Second item of business: try to notice (and then focus on) the many things that are going well. It is so easy to overlook them in an exhausted pregnancy fog, and I think forgetting to notice the good things makes the bad things seem much more overwhelming.

So today I noticed.

I noticed that Thomas naps in the morning, giving me time to pay individual attention to Jonathan as well as to have 45 minutes of peace and quiet (while Thomas is sleeping and Jonathan is having a quiet time.)

I noticed that the boys play together. Quite well, a surprising amount of the time. Yes, I have to police them a bit and break up some fights, but overall they play together happily for quite long stretches of time.

I noticed that the boys love to play outside. They will play outside for hours if I let them (and usually I do!) I can sit myself in a folding chair and keep an eye on them while reading or paying bills or other minor "desk" work.

I noticed that I have a washing machine in my house. That mountain of laundry that I cried over last night would be so much more difficult if I had to do it at a laundromat. It is ok to find it daunting at times (it really was a very big pile!) but perspective points out that I have a washing machine, a dryer, and a lovely clothes line to hang things on. And it is sunny and beautiful outside.

I noticed that both of my boys nap at the same time. I napped, too.

I noticed that I had good food in the freezer and the pantry, and it only took about 20 minutes to get a healthy spaghetti dinner on the table.

I noticed that my husband left for work early so he could come home for dinner, even though it would probably have been easier for him to sleep later, leave later, and go directly to his evening meeting. He loves us enough to come home.

I noticed that both boys go to bed at the same time, with a mostly shared routine, and that I am free to sit down and blog at 8:15pm.

I noticed that I have a pretty good life.


Normally, I don't do memes. If I get tagged my most common response is to ignore it (I know, that isn't nice!) I thought about posting something deep about my philosophical objection to memes, but that sounded like too much work. :) The truth is, most of them don't sound interesting, or are just too much effort for the end result. So I usually don't do them. If you've tagged me for a meme, and I've ignored you, please don't hate me!

That said, Amanda tagged me recently and strangely, I found myself wanting to do this one. Perhaps because it is random, odd, and not time consuming.

Look up from the computer, look around the room where you're sitting and pick up the closest book. Open the book, turn to page 123, count down to the fifth sentence on that page, and then post the next three sentences.

And no cheating - it really has to be the closest book, even if the closest book happens to be the latest bodice ripper from Harlequin. Not that I know anything about bodice rippers from Harlequin. I'm just sayin'.

The closest book to me when I read Amanda's post and saw the tag was The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman, Ph.D. Great! A smart book! A book that shows how very much care I am giving my marriage!

Gilligan and Ginger are nowhere in sight - the two of you are the only survivors. One of you is injured. You have no idea where you are.

Since I haven't made it to page 123 yet, I have no explanation for this fascinating and extremely important bit of marriage advice. Perhaps you should all leave a comment providing your best theory of how this relates to making marriage work. :)

And, because I can, I shall now tag:

Jessica (who I'm sure will ignore the tag due to her crazy life with new twins!)
SlowLane (who I hope will complete this at work - and for you - change the rules a bit and use the most interesting request letter you have lying around.)
SarahMarie (who will probably give us something pithy from Chesterton or Lewis.)
Gabe (play along, dear husband - a good excerpt from Romans will be good for our souls!)

and last but not least

Elena (who needs a break from house hunting.)

Have at it!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Cactus Cuties

Anyone else heard these girls? They have the most well-developed voices that I've ever heard in children so young. This particular video is a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. I can't embed the video here (that feature was turned off for some reason) but you can see it at YouTube here.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

And...we're done.

Remember that crazy day of non-nursing last week? Well, that was it. My very last time nursing Thomas was one-side-only session. (Oh yeah, that was really fun about 12 hours later.) It was a sweet end, if unexpected. He didn't bite me that time, and when he finished nursing he smiled up at me with the sweetest look in his eyes. You know the one that just makes you want to cry and kiss and cuddle him all at once? And remember why you wanted to get pregnant again? Yeah, that one. I'm glad I have that memory as an end-note.

Since then he's been a lot needier - he needs more cuddles, more snuggles, more carrying, more rocking and singing. But I can provide most of that, and I think he'll be just fine.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Health conscious

I've been doing a lot of thinking, lately, about the kinds of food that I'm feeding my family. I think this was prompted somewhat by glancing through a pregnancy book and realizing that I am woefully remiss in getting the daily nutrient recommendations. And that is in a family that generally eats vegetables with every dinner and fruit and veggies for snacks!

The fact is that, unless you're being very thoughtful in your planning, it is all too easy to serve a "balanced" meal without actually including many truly nutrient rich foods. For example, I could serve a pasta or rice dish, perhaps with some chicken thrown in, and a salad on the side. But if I'm being lazy and/or cheap, I used a 10 cent box of Pasta-Roni - white flour and fattening sauce - and the salad is made of light green lettuce without many added colorful ingredients (gee, who has time for all that chopping!)

On the other hand, if I planned well and had the right foods in the house, I could serve the same meal with whole wheat pasta, a chunky marinara sauce with some lean ground beef, and a dark green leafy salad with tomatoes, green peppers, red cabbage, and avocado.

Same meal, but totally different in terms of nutritive value.

Now, time for chopping is certainly an issue. So is time to drive West to Trader Joes and South-East to Henry's Marketplace - both are about 20 minutes away from my house and at least 30-40 minutes away from each other. Plus, since those are more specialty stores, I'd still need to go to Sam's Club for cheap milk, eggs, bread, and cheese (not that any of those are cheap, anymore!) and probably Vons as well for staples like peanut butter and toothpaste.

On top of that, buying healthier food like whole wheat pasta and pita bread just costs more. Particularly if compared to that 10 cent box of Pasta-Roni.

Last year when Thomas was born, I switched from cherry-picking sales at five different stores to using the Grocery Game to help me make shopping at just one store (Vons) cheaper. It was lovely to only shop at one store, with an occasional trip to Sam's Club thrown in every few weeks. It made the transition to having two kids much smoother, and I was a much happier and less stressed out Mom. Besides, the Grocery Game was just fun. I mean, who doesn't like getting free groceries? It really was a game.

But now I'm questioning whether it is still a good choice. It is hard to argue with free peanut butter, and I've picked up at least four jars for nothing this past year. On the other hand, that was Skippy peanut butter, with a hefty helping of sugar along with the peanuts. I'd rather feed my kids Laura Scudders (just plain peanuts and salt) but a jar of that costs nearly $4.

Should I switch to a healthier diet, somehow try to make the time for the extra shopping and cooking, and hope to make up the cost difference by cooking more beans, rice and potatoes? How realistic is this?

What do you think, dear readers? How have you found a balance between healthy eating, and cost of the food, and the time it takes to both buy and prepare it?