Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Aren't these beautiful animals? I love the spots.

We found a couple of coloring pages - Jonathan was concerned that he couldn't color carefully enough to manage the spots! We ended up using a sharpie marker so that he could just touch each spot to color them in.

A basic fact page, as well as a page about babies. Jonathan is very interested in size right now; he wants me to show him what a foot or a half a pound "looks like" with my hands.

Did you know that cheetahs don't roar? They chirp! No kidding - they sound more like birds than cats!

A jigsaw puzzle, of course. I love this site - we've been learning about all kinds of animals and so far there has been a puzzle for ALL of them!

Handwriting practice, which Jonathan informs me "makes his hands too tired to color". Poor overworked little boy.

And his favorite part: videos! We found a cute one of cubs at a zoo, as well as a pretty cool montage of cheetahs running. A cheetah in motion is one of the most amazing sights. Beauty and raw power - wow.

Tide Stain Release deal at CVS

I tried the new Tide Stain Release packets a few weeks ago and was totally impressed. Not only did it remove the grape juice stain from Thomas' pillow, it also removed an old stain that I had assumed would be there forever. The only problem is that the packages are kind of expensive!

But this week CVS has a really good deal: buy $25 worth of P&G products, get $10 back in extra care bucks. Here's what you do to make it awesome:

6 packages of Tide Stain Release individual packets (10 per package) for $24
1 Dawn dish soap for $1
$25 P&G products

-$5/$25 flu coupon
-$1 tide product coupon
-$1 tide product coupon
-$1 tide product coupon
-$1 tide product coupon
-$1 tide product coupon
-$1.50 tide product coupon
-$0.50 dawn coupon

(You can find coupons in the 8/30 PG [expiring today], the 8/16 RP, 8/30 RP, and 9/27 PG inserts. There is also a printable here.)

New subtotal: $13 + tax

Pay with ecbs if you have them, and get $10 back!

Net cost (assuming that you can roll) should be about $3.93, which is pretty amazing for 60 washes with stain release!

This deal is good through Saturday, but if you have the 8/30 PG coupons, you should go today!


I love the effect of the green and white with the crystal vases. Doesn't it just lift your spirits, looking at them?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Birthday boy

Josiah turned one today!

We had pizza for dinner,

German chocolate cupcakes for dessert. I think he liked it.

And after dinner Gabe and the boys put together Josiah's new ride-on truck.

I think he liked that, too.

This is the first birthday for which I've had the pleasure of watching the older boys enjoy their younger brother's special day. Jonathan sang "happy birthday" to Siah on more than one occasion during the day, and Thomas wandered around saying "Siah's birthday! Happy birthday!" I love being a family. I love getting to watch as we grow up together. I love my boys.

Happy Birthday, Josiah.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Real maple syrup - affordable!

I grew up with real maple syrup on my pancakes, and I'd like to continue the tradition...but it is usually SO EXPENSIVE!

So I was thrilled to read about this deal, available on Amazon, for organic grade B maple syrup. I do not know how long this deal lasts, so I'd recommend hurrying. :)

Thanks, Hip2Save!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hospital birth, Monty Python style

My favorite is the machine that goes "ping!" and "lets you know that your baby is still alive!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ingrid's birth - from her own perspective!

Ingrid has written her birth story!

Old and new selves

Amy wrote a beautiful post on old and new selves that I think all stay-at-home mothers should read. I especially enjoyed her perspective of having been a teacher outside the home, and trading that for teaching in the home.
But no last bell, just quiet.
The quiet satisfaction of work well-done and days well-spent.
Work never quite done, always to be repeated,
fraught with imperfection and sin,
a liturgy of love,
a litany of my life for yours.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Future training...

Ma Torg left this comment on my last post:
"So are you going to train to be a doula then possibly? Or pursue midwifery?"
and I thought I'd go ahead and answer it here. :)

Midwifery...probably not. That is an all-consuming lifestyle/career that I don't think would blend well either with my personality or my family.

But I am very interested in becoming a doula. I hope to be able to complete official training sometime in the next two years or so. In the meantime, I'm open to the possibility of helping friends in an unofficial capacity. Josiah is weaning, so that should simplify the logistics. If you're currently pregnant and are interested in having an extra support person, let's talk!

Ingrid's birth - from an outside perspective

Ingrid has given me permission to post this story. Theoretically, she's also going to post her own story in the near future. It should be fun to read both perspectives!

Ingrid went into labor early Saturday morning. She called me mid-morning to give me a head’s up, and I thanked her for being so considerate as to decide to labor on the weekend! I asked her a few questions and then asked her to call me if anything changed dramatically.

I received a few phone calls during the day, and reassured Ingrid and Clint that I was available to come to them whenever they felt they needed me. At 9pm they asked me to come.

I was so excited. So excited that I nearly forgot to take my birth bag with me. So excited that I stopped to get coffee and “I’m going to help my friend have her baby” just spilled out when the barista wanted to take my order. So excited! And under the excitement, a deep sense of awe, and privilege, and responsibility.

Ingrid was in solid first stage labor when I arrived. One of the first things she said to me was “Hey. Labor hurts.” It made me laugh because yeah, it surely does! She could talk between contractions but when one started, all conversation ceased. She was quiet and focused. Clint was supporting Ingrid and doing a great job, so I spent about an hour mostly observing, then tentatively trying out a few support possibilities, trying to make my insertion into the process as seamless as possible.

Around 11pm Clint was clearly getting tired, so I suggested that he might like to take a nap. Ingrid seconded this, so he went to the living room to sleep on the couch. I spent the next three hours with Ingrid, learning. I held her hands, let her rock against me; we walked, and walked, and walked, and sometimes laughed; I was part of her labor and it was a wondrous, wondrous thing.

Around 3am labor had definitely changed. It was much more intense and Ingrid was displaying some of the signs that signaled transition might not be far away. I was starting to feel that going to the hospital (as they planned to do) was fast becoming the best option. While I knew that Ingrid wanted to do most of her laboring at home, I was also aware that the drive to the hospital would take some time, I didn’t have the experience to properly gauge how long the end of labor would take, and I did not want to end up catching a baby either at home or in the car.

I told Clint that in my very not-trained opinion, Ingrid was heading towards second stage labor in the next couple of hours, and that if I had to guess I’d say their baby would probably show up in early to mid-morning. We started getting ready to head to the hospital.

Triage at the hospital did not go well. Ingrid continued to labor quietly, and I think that the triage nurse may have thought she was just another primip arriving at 2cm. I wasn’t in the room, but Ingrid told me later that the nurse was abrupt and unhelpful. By the time they came out of the triage room, Ingrid’s labor had functionally stopped.

Which seriously surprised me, because she was seven centimeters dilated.

We spent the next seven hours trying to work within the system and get Ingrid back on track, to no avail. Walking the halls could bring on contractions, but as soon as a nurse put her back on a monitor (for 20 –30 minutes each hour) they petered out again. Ingrid was exhausted and frustrated – at one point she said that she just wanted everyone to leave her alone and stop coming into the room to bother her! Not long after that she and Clint decided that it was time to go home.

Thankfully, in the midst of this time there had been a shift change and we had a new set of nurses and a different midwife in charge. They tried to talk Ingrid into staying, but honestly, they didn’t try very hard. They did suggest that they could rupture her membranes to "kick labor back into gear”. I quietly advised against that once the nurse left the room, pointing out that if it didn’t work, she had just put herself on the clock for delivery. Ingrid signed the necessary “against medical advice” forms and we left the hospital. The nurses at the desk waved us off with concerned requests to come back as soon as labor got going again, and our lovely Christian nurse prayed with us briefly, a gesture that surprised and touched me.

Ingrid was pretty discouraged on the way home. She was still having intermittent contractions, just enough to make her miserable, and she hadn’t slept in about 30 hours. She informed us that she could NOT go back to the hospital, and trying to soothe her, Clint said that she didn’t have to. This was the first time when I felt really mixed up and a little frightened, because I knew that without a trained midwife, not going to the hospital wasn’t really a safe option, and I didn’t want to be the only one there if anything went wrong.

At home, Clint called Margit, a friend from college who has a midwifery license, and I left a message for Sue (my own midwife) asking her advice. We got Ingrid into bed, sleeping a little, and I decided to go home. I didn’t feel that I could be of any help immediately (since labor was still definitely in a full stall) and I had been away from Josiah (who was still nursing) for over 15 hours. It was good to go home, nurse him, re-group and re-connect (slightly!) with life-outside-of-labor, and take a desperately needed three hour nap.

Clint called me back in the evening, almost exactly 24 hours after calling me to come the first time. Ingrid was back in a consistent contraction pattern. Please come.

I was glad that Margit was there when I arrived. Although she hadn’t been practicing for a few years, she had knowledge and skills that I simply didn’t possess and I felt better having her around. The previous night Ingrid’s labor had made sense to me, but now it was unpredictable and confusing. Margit wasn’t quite sure what was going on, either – by the end of the process we had counted three “pseudo-transitions” that didn’t quite go anywhere. I don’t think you could call it a “normal” labor pattern by any stretch of the imagination.

We went back to the hospital in the middle of the night. Thankfully, Ingrid had decided that she did in fact want to go back, and this time when we got there we had kind nurses (and the midwife we’d seen in the morning) ready and waiting for us. They didn’t bother with triage but sent us straight up to a delivery room. Ingrid still had to deal with the monitors, and her labor did slow down again, but thanks be to God, it didn’t stop.

Ingrid and Clint had been very clear with hospital staff (and with me) that they wanted a completely natural, drug-free birth. However, as Sunday became Monday, I started to wonder if continuing to pursue that goal was the best plan. Ingrid was so tired. She had been in labor for over 40 hours and her body was simply wearing out. At one point the pupils of her eyes started dilating and contracting randomly, and I was honestly concerned that she was about to pass out. Maybe that would have been a blessing, from her perspective.

At this point Margit asked me to come out in the hall with her to confer. We both felt, at that point, that continuing to pursue “no interventions” might in this case lead to a cesearean for failure to progress or maternal exhaustion. We wanted to talk to each other first and be sure we were on the same page before presenting this potentially unwelcome idea to Clint (Ingrid was no longer able to make decisions for herself.)

Although I firmly believe that natural, drug-free childbirth is generally possible and usually the safest route for mother and baby, I have never been in the “never never never” camp. There is a time and a place for interventions, especially a minor one (some kind of pain management) in the attempt to avoid a major one (forceps delivery or surgery). I was convinced that this time had come in Ingrid’s labor.

It put me in a strange position, however. I saw myself as Ingrid’s advocate and support in labor, which in this case included suggesting pain management. However I was concerned that Clint might see me as their advocate against interventions. So it was with some concern that I suggested that the time had come to ask for some pain relief for Ingrid.

Apparently Margit and I weren’t the only ones who thought so, though, and it worked out ok. Just a few minutes after we made the suggestion, the midwife came in and gently suggested the same thing. And then Clint called Sue (who had been helping us out with advice since I’d called her Sunday afternoon) and she concurred with our assessment.

With everyone in agreement, Clint made the decision to give Ingrid a narcotic, in the hopes that it would dull her pain enough to let her sleep for a few hours. It worked beautifully.

With Ingrid asleep, Margit and I raced for home. I had the family car at the hospital and Gabe needed it to get to work in just a few hours! My body was also reminding me that it had again been a long time since nursing Josiah. When we got there, Margit napped on the couch for ten minutes while I nursed Josiah. You cannot imagine how difficult it is to resist falling asleep while bathed in nursing hormones and having had only three hours of sleep in the previous 40!

Clint called as we were heading back to the hospital, this time with fantastic news. Ingrid was complete and getting ready to push. Margit broke some speeding laws on the way back! We got there to find Ingrid most definitely pushing. The midwife checked her, coached her a bit on how to push effectively, and then suggested that she try sitting on the toilet, which she did. Clint crouched beside her and Margit and I stood back and watched. Margit had brought a small flashlight and used it to check Ingrid’s progress. I was standing ready with the camera and said “Margit, is that the head?” Margit wasn’t sure until the next push, and then she ran out the door to get the midwife. It was most decidedly the baby’s head!

They barely got Ingrid back to the bed – indeed I’m not sure quite how she managed that short walk – before Isaac slid out into the midwife’s hands. She didn’t even get her gloves on.

Isaac Timothy Rothell was born at 4:43am after 46 hours of labor. He was seven pounds, five ounces, and twenty inches long.

And then it was over. The last time I was that tired was after giving birth to Thomas. I went home and slept while Libby took care of my children. It took a few days to get back to normal, and I found myself thinking “how in the world do midwives do this???

Yet while I’m not sure how they do it, I completely understand why. And I can’t wait to do it again.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Working on it, anyway! And I like the results of the past month's efforts.

The boys' room has a new book/toy shelf.

This picture was taken a few days before we finished, but imagine a stuffed animal net hammock hanging in the corner and you'll have what it looks like now:

My pantry is pretty - I'm especially happy with my clearance Tupperware!

Even the refrigerator got a makeover! (It's full, but I know exactly what is in it.)

And the most recent addition is a bookshelf above my desk. It is wonderful - all the stuff that used to clutter my desk now has a home! I love having enough space to actually work on the desk.

Baby steps! One of these days maybe my whole life will be organized. :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Josiah's birth story

Little one,
It has taken me nearly a year to write your birth story, which is funny, because unlike your brothers’, yours wasn’t traumatic. It was long, and it was hard, and it was simple. It went just the way it is supposed to.

Labor started very early in the morning, September 28th. I stayed in bed and slept or drowsed through a few hours of it. Once everyone woke up and the day got going, Daddy and I decided that the best thing for me would be for him to take Jonathan and Thomas to Grandma’s house for the day. I was pretty sure that I had a long slow early labor ahead of me, and I wanted peace and quiet. I think your Daddy felt a little odd leaving me here by myself, but that is really what I wanted.

I remember that time as leisurely yet purposeful. I had long 10-12 minute stretches between contractions, and I relaxed and enjoyed the rest. Each contraction was hard work and required concentration, but in between I lay on the couch and watched movies. Sometimes I worried that it wasn’t “real labor” because the contractions were so spaced out, but I tried hard to stay in the moment without worrying about what would happen next.

In the afternoon labor began to get more intense. I turned on the French version of the musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame, very loud, and danced through contractions. I was glad that I didn’t have an audience – it was very freeing to be able to move, sway, bend, and dance without worrying about what others would think. The volume helped, too – somehow it made it easier for me to lose myself in the music and the labor.

Around 4pm I suddenly wished very intensely that I had not sent your Daddy away. I cried through a few contractions, tired emotionally as well as physically, wishing for comfort and support. Thankfully at that point he was on his way home, so I didn’t have too long to wait for him to arrive.

Daddy shifted into gear once he got home, setting up the birth pool in between giving me hugs, and somehow also getting Jonathan and Thomas fed and ready for bed. The boys were very excited about the pool! They didn’t seem to mind or really pay much attention to my labor, although I do remember Jonathan trying to talk to me through one contraction, and patting my arm.

Everything was going well. We considered calling Christina to come pick up the boys, but it seemed silly to send them away right at bedtime. So we put them to bed and hoped that they’d sleep through what was to come. We had asked Jonathan if he wanted to be there for the birth, but he said “no, I don’t want to hear you roar like a lion!” I was a little worried about making too much noise and waking them up, but I was also fairly deep into labor land at that point and wasn’t thinking about it too much.

We called Sue Wolcott as the evening progressed, and she arrived a little after 9pm. I was only about 3cm dilated at that point, which was deeply disappointing. After all that time I’d really been hoping for more than that! I did my best to ignore the disappointment and keep focused on moving forward.

I spent most of the time standing and swaying with your daddy, hanging on to his shoulders when the contractions came. He helped remind me to keep my vocalizations low, “singing” along with me. I was tired, and wanted to sleep between contractions, but it was too awful to wake up once one had already started. So I stood, and walked, and rocked and swayed with your wonderful daddy.

Sue Gill had been out of town for a week. She had told me that I wouldn’t have the baby until she got back, and she was right, but only barely! Her plane landed at 10pm and she flew to our house, arriving just before 11pm. I was getting close to transition by the time she got there.

I remember getting really cranky around midnight. I was tired, in a rotten mood; it was past my bedtime and I just wanted it all to be over! In retrospect, that was probably when I was in transition.

After all the work of getting the pool set up, I didn’t want to be in it! Your daddy kept asking, thinking it might help, but for some reason it just didn’t sound good to me. Eventually I did agree to try it – I was in the throws of really hard labor at that point and willing to try just about anything to make it easier to handle.

Not long after getting in the pool I was ready to start pushing. Pushing was so disappointing this time! When Thomas was born, pushing was such a relief. Suddenly I knew exactly what to do and how to do it, and it hurt but almost felt good at the same time. So I was expecting the same thing this time. Instead, I was frustrated to discover that I had somehow forgotten how to push! I couldn’t seem to find a position that felt right; it seemed that my body and my mind were working at cross purposes. That was awful. Sue suggested a few different positions and eventually we found one that seemed to work. Even so, it never felt right the way it did with Thomas' birth.

And yet you came. After about two hours of pushing, there you were. I could reach down and touch your head and your oh-so-soft and slippery hair. It hurt amazingly but then there you were. Once your head was out there was a tiny pause and the rest of you slipped out and I held you on my chest and gasped and laughed and cried with shock and amazement and delight.

Birth is beyond words, little one. You are beyond words.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Good journalism on home birth

After watching the dismally biased Perils of Midwifery, it was so refreshing to read USA Today's fair, balanced, and reasonably researched article on home birth. It's a short article but it hits the main points of both sides, makes note of the recent Netherlands and Canadian studies (the ones I mentioned) and the author interviewed a home birth midwife as well as an ACOG representative for the story. Well done, USA Today!

Thanks to Nursing Birth for letting me know about the article!

Baking Day

A few weeks ago Tuesday became Baking Day. This is a new addition for me - something that I've often wanted to do and felt I should do, but never quite got around to it. Baking was sporadic and unplanned, which does not make for frequent and enjoyable! Putting it on Jonathan's calendar was a way to hold myself accountable! :) Anyway, we're loving it. I bake with the boys, which makes it take longer but also gives it double duty - they're learning about baking, measuring, fractions, teamwork, and the need for cleanup, and Mommy is learning to enjoy the moment with patience. Good things, yes?

Yesterday Jonathan and I made a really stellar muffin recipe. It is adapted from the one here.

Oatmeal Fruit Nut muffins (makes 32)

3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups oats (I used quick, because that's what I had, but I think it would work with rolled as well)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup apple juice
1/3 cup vegetable oil (you could probably reduce this even more if you wanted to - just add a little more mashed fruit)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 mashed bananas
1 crushed apple (I blended mine in the blender - I wanted small chunks rather than applesauce)
1 and 1/2 cup craisens
1 and 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped

Combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Stir in the milk, juice, oil, and vanilla. Add mashed banana and apple and combine thoroughly. Stir the flour mixture into the banana mixture until just combined. I used standard sized muffin tins with foil cups (lovely because they never stick!) Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Just one or two of these muffins goes a long way for breakfast because they're packed with so much good stuff! They look small but they're powerhouses of nutrients and fiber.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


A couple of weeks ago the boys and I made a large calendar of the week. We decorated it with stickers (smiley face for when Daddy is home, trees for park day, a shirt for laundry day, etc.) and posted it prominently in the living room. I think it has really helped both boys, and Jonathan especially, in understanding how the week works and knowing what to expect. Now when Jonathan asks if we're going to the park, I can direct him to the calendar and ask him what we're doing today! The ownership has made for fewer complaints.

The first week that we had the calendar up, Jonathan came to me very distressed. "We should have made a bigger calendar!!!" he wailed. Why? "Because we're almost done!!" What a fascinating glimpse into his head! He thought that once we hit Saturday, the calendar was over. When I explained that with a weekly calendar, we go back to the beginning and do it again, he was thrilled.

A really nice side benefit of the calendar is Jonathan's new willingness to help with chores. Monday was Laundry Day, and so he wanted to do the laundry! By himself! Well, ok, with minimal assistance! It was just so exciting!

And you know what? He CAN do the laundry, with minimal assistance. He and Thomas sorted the clothes, Jonathan got his stool and dropped all the clothes into the washer, I helped him add detergent and showed him how to turn it on. He alerted me when the washer was finished (something I always forget!) and once I put the wet clothes in the basket, he dragged them to the dryer, put them in, and started it himself. This is a very capable four year old. I'm sure that once the novelty wears off, it won't be so exciting, but hopefully by then it will be habit.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Open letter to NBC

A few days ago, NBC aired an "investigative report" titled "The Perils of Midwifery". Watch it and decide for yourself whether the story should be considered truly "investigative journalism". (Obviously, I didn't think so!) I was incensed enough to write a letter to NBC, and I am posting it here in the interest of getting the word out beyond their mail room.

Dear NBC,

In your recent story “The Perils of Midwifery”, Peter Alexander makes the nebulous claim that “doctors say it is impossible to compare [home vs. hospital births] because hospitals deal with so many high risk cases.”

First I’d like to note that simply using “doctors say” without attributing the idea to anyone specifically, is a subtle appeal to authority without facts, or even a specific person to back it up. If that claim is going to be made, there needs to be someone actually saying it.

Second, it is not true that it is “impossible to compare” home and hospital births, and it is irresponsible journalism to let that implied fact stand. In fact it is possible, and has been done multiple times. In the Netherlands, a comparison of “low-risk” women birthing at home with those birthing in hospital found no difference in death or serious illness among either baby or mother.[1] A Canadian study, released just last month, showed that planned home births were associated with comparable rates of perinatal death and reduced rates of adverse maternal outcomes compared with planned hospital births.[2] A study of birth in the United States concluded that home birth for low risk women using certified professional midwives was associated with lower rates of medical intervention, and comparable neonatal mortality to that of low risk hospital births.[3] Finally, the American Cochrane review of 11 separate studies came to the conclusion that midwifery care confers benefits for women and their babies and is recommended.[4]

True investigative reporting should have found and reported this information, instead of claiming that it does not exist.

Emily Moothart





Friday, September 11, 2009

Almost one

I can't really call Josiah a baby anymore. I do anyway, because he's still my littlest, but he's growing up so fast it hardly applies! I feel like he's turned into a little boy in the past two weeks - blink blink and he's all grown up.

He's walking now, pushing a little walker around outside. He can take about four or five steps before deciding that crawling is quicker. I just bought him his first pair of soft shoes. Seriously, when did you last see something this cute?

He loves to clap his hands, both when we ask him to and when he thinks he's done something exciting.

Every now and then he waves "bye bye". Once he accompanied that with "ba ba" which excited me greatly but which hasn't yet been repeated. He is babbling so much more now, enjoying the sounds he can create.

Josiah eats at least three times as much as his brothers currently consume. I serve all three of them the same amount at dinner, coax Jonathan and Thomas to eat theirs, and give Josiah thirds. I guess he's growing. He's also drinking water and milk out of sippy cups, and loves drinking Sarah's green smoothies from my glass.

He's not nursing much anymore during the day, and I'm not sure he really cares about it anymore. When we do nurse he usually has to be convinced that it is a good idea, and won't stick with it very long. Night time, now that is a different story. Josiah loves to nurse when he's mostly asleep. Last night he woke up six times between 9:30pm and 7am (this, even though I usually only let him nurse once or twice.) We're about to start a serious attempt at breaking that cute little habit.

Josiah wants to do everything his brothers do. Everything. Especially climbing on things. He's quite good at climbing up; getting down is the problem!

At bed and naptime Josiah loves to get kisses from his brothers. It is such a joy to see their smiles and watch the love getting passed around. They may argue and fuss at each other, but I think they'll end up being good friends.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Trip to Boston!

Last week Josiah and I flew to Boston to visit my sister. I had a free flight and Josiah is a lap baby, and Southwest Airlines just opened up a new route to Boston Logan airport. Perfect timing!

If you follow Sarah's blog, you'll know that she's chosen to become a vegetarian. She's not just a "not eating meat" vegetarian, though, she's completely turned her diet upside down. Really, she takes "crunchy" to a new level. :)

What was neat to see is how happy and healthy she is now. Clearly, it is working for her. And like all the newly converted, she would like to convert the rest of us, too. She started with Josiah:

Here he is, drinking a "green smoothie".

He LOVED it. Couldn't get enough.

It really was awfully good, once you get past the strange, grass-green color. And Sarah's right, you really can't taste the spinach. Or the chia seed glop that she added. Apparently they are a complete protein and very good for vegetarians. Ok.

Lest you think we're being deprived of normal yumminess, I present the other part of breakfast:

What, haven't you heard that dark chocolate is good for you??

Josiah's favorite place was the refrigerator.

Apparently he wanted some chocolate, too.

Sorry, Siah, that isn't the healthy kind!

Sarah and I are both "homebodies" so we spent some time just hanging around the house.

It is a lovely house to hang out in, although definitely a work in progress. Sarah tells me that houses in New England are nearly always a work in progress, since A) they're really old and B) what we would consider "normal upkeep" often doesn't happen. There is no such thing as a straight wall, or floor, or ceiling in their house. Many rooms have three different colors of paint, all visible, from various evolutions of the room color. The living room wall sports a bright red "Oil switch". Never removed, although the house hasn't been run on oil in eons.

Nathan is incredibly handy, however, and is slowly but surely working on renovating it. The results, even this early in the process, are really nice.

The living room:

The upstairs room where Josiah and I slept. Usually this is where Sarah teaches her violin students.

Since both Sarah and Nathan are professional musicians, they have a music room. This might have been my favorite room in the house.

Their beautiful green yard:

A cute picture of Josiah - he sure had fun with his Aunt and Uncle!

One afternoon we went to Boston to be tourists. We got to see the U.S.S. Constitution, and we toured the U.S.S. Cassin Young.

Aren't they cute together? (The happily-marrieds, not the boat.)

The tour required about 8 climbs up and down steep ladders. Since I was wearing Siah in the mei tai, that wasn't a problem. The tour guide was totally impressed, though, which amused me.

Our guide was pretty awesome. I wasn't sure how much I'd enjoy a 45 minute tour of a military destroyer, but it was great. History is fascinating, especially when told by someone who really enjoys it himself.

We thought about trying to see Old North Church, but decided it was getting late and it could wait until the next day. (Sadly, the next day it rained hard, and we also realized that it was the day for Teddy Kennedy's viewing, which would have made going into Boston really crazy, so we didn't end up going there.) :(

Anyway, we went to dinner at the Warren Tavern. Established in 1780. That blows my Californian mind.

Josiah was getting a little restless, so we distracted him with lemon slices. Why is it so much fun to feed a baby a lemon?

My very favorite part of our trip was on Saturday. Nathan is the music director for his church, and he does an over-the-top phenomenal job. During the summer they have a band to lead worship, since they don't meet in the un-airconditioned sanctuary with the organ. Nathan writes arrangements for the songs they play. This man is amazingly gifted (and yes, I'm desperately jealous of his ability). :) Anyway, on Saturday he and Sarah played through a new arrangement, and it was such a blessing to be able to listen in. Not only was the music lovely, it was a joy to see them work together and incredible to get a glimpse of their passion for truly leading worship.

(The falsetto voice you'll hear is Nathan, singing a part he wrote for French Horn. Also, I'm sure Sarah will want me to mention that she was sight-reading. Although you can't tell.)

We headed home on Sunday. Sarah dropped us off at the airport at 8am, so that she could get back in time to go to church. The airport was so empty that at first we weren't even sure that it was open.

But it was. And that was definitely the simplest security process that I ever hope to experience. :) Flying across the country with an 11 month old certainly wasn't easy, but overall Josiah was a trooper. I'm glad we got the chance.

We loved our visit, Sarah and Nathan! Thank you for your hospitality!

Friday, September 04, 2009


Someone should buy me this shirt. :)

If you follow birth issues at all, you have probably heard about Dr. Stuart Fischbein's current legal problems. In brief: the hospital where he practices has banned breech births and VBACs, both of which Dr. Fischbein has been overseeing for his entire career (and with a stellar safety record.) The hospital has recently told him that if he performs one more vbac, they will "summarily suspend" his privileges.

"My hospital says if I do another VBAC or elective breech delivery, they’re going to “summarily suspend my privileges.” Until I can solve this problem one way or the other, if I do another breech delivery or VBAC, I’m going to jeopardize all my patients’ care. I’m going to have to tell my patients that if they want a vaginal breech delivery, they’re going to have to go some place else."
Read the entire interview here at Stand and Deliver. It is very long, but I think it is an incredible outline of what is going on, not only in his own situation but in the larger world of vbac and breech birth issues.

You can read more from Dr. Fischbein on his website.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Giraffe - learning time

These are probably my favorite animals. So when Jonathan asked to learn about them, I thought that was a great idea! Here is what we did this afternoon:

Coloring page

Basic fact sheet

Giraffe letterhead paper (Jonathan wrote a letter to a friend on this, telling him what he'd learned about giraffes. It makes me happy that he's narrating without knowing it. I bet this sort of thing will make "formal" narration easier later.)

Man vs. Giraffe running race!

Handwriting practice
Jonathan balks a little at this, because he'd rather just write without paying attention to the details. I've waffled back on forth on whether I should just let him play with it, or give some attention to correct writing. Right now I'm leaning toward a very little bit of detailed work (we only copied two words today) because I don't want him to teach himself bad habits without any correction at all.

Giraffe jigsaw puzzle

And last, a cute video of a baby giraffe.

Seaworld (part the end)

Seaworld was fun just for itself, but I got the additional joy of watching the children enjoy themselves. I think that is one of the perks of parenting.