Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Recent Happenings

Wow, time flies, doesn't it? Here are a few random thoughts to start the day...

We eat a lot of 'dirt' in this house. Little Guy just doesn't want to say the 's' sound much so our after dinner treat is now destined to be known as dirt! And he loves dirt an awful lot, especially if it involves cupcakes, cake, birthday cake...the boy knows cake.

Peanut is rolling over! She has been thisclose seemingly forever, but finally decided to celebrate 4 months by rolling from tummy to back. Then two days later figured she'd give back to tummy a whirl as well. She is so strong when she wants to be and had been teetering on her side for a long while. Now she decided to do it and she is an old pro. Of course (in both cases) she flipped while I was either stepped out of the room or was sitting right by her, but engaged with her brother. So there was no actual witnessing of either of the firsts. She is such an accommodating baby that after being turned she immediately did it again! Now if only the teeth that have been causing teething symptoms for 2 months would actually appear.

And speaking of teeth... On a recent trip to visit my parents in Kentucky Little Guy decided to give us our first after hours call to the pediatrician. We were all up on the loft playing with some of my old toys. (Did you know that in the mid 70s Fisher Price made their toys in the USA? Fun fact for the morning!) There are 3 steps leading up to the bedrooms on each side and I was sitting on them nursing Peanut. Little Guy climbed up the steps to grab the cash register and was walking down right next to me. Mike was right in front of him at the bottom of the stairs. We were both within arms reach, but yet he took a tumble down 2 steps. No big deal, right? This kid tumbles all the time...

Yeah, the toy hit his mouth as he fell and bent his tooth completely forward! How in the world? There were tears, there was blood, there was waking up my poor mom before she headed to her job at the hospital and then a call to the ER. Unfortunately, the nurse who answered was not one who knew her so we got the 'we don't give out medical advice' talk after 10 minutes on hold. We called the after hours number and talked to the newest doctor in our pediatrician's office and were told to pull it if it was dangling by a thread or to leave it alone if it wasn't. We kept the ice on for a while, but really by the time we heard from the Dr. Little Guy was playing again and didn't seem overly bothered. He went to bed, slept through the night and other than a few "tooth hurt" comments on a few mornings he has been fine.

The tooth isn't in the exact same position, but it seems to be firming up. We've been praying for it like crazy, because if it discolors it may have to come out. I can't imagine having 5-7 years of a gap toothed boy! Of course, in the scheme of things it is no big deal and we are grateful that he wasn't hurt more and that we didn't have any kind of ER visit the last night of our trip five minutes before bed time!

Have a great Tuesday! We are windy like crazy today,

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cazy Day

or alternatively, These are the Moments.

We had a day recently that challenged me. Wait, we've had lots and lots of those days recently. As in a two year old who is starting to really get into the whole 'I'm a two year old and entitled to be sassy' thing, a baby who needs to be nursed and loved on, but also has moments occasionally, a Daddy who is working really hard to get recording and editing done on a CD, and a Mommy who is trying to get the canning finished (and laundry and meals...)

I honestly can't remember exactly what happened, but I remember thinking how crazy/insane this one particular moment is. Then the song "I Could Not Ask For More" popped into my head. I really could not ask for more than this time together, than this time with them. I do have all I've waited for, every prayer has been answered, every dream has come true. It may sound a bit hokey or cheesy, but I actually started singing it to my babies in the midst of the crazy. And I meant it.

For years I've wanted to be married, to have a children, to be able to be home with them. And it is finally a reality. It is often challenging, but it is also perfect and wonderful even in the crazy and hard. I hope I always remember that I really could not ask for more!

Love my life,

Friday, October 8, 2010

Time of Plenty

This is such a great time of year, isn't it? It seems that everyone is talking about how this is their favorite time of year and I have to agree! I was born in the (late) fall, I met my husband and married him in the fall and I just love the cooler nights, the beautiful colors and the return to more baking. I must admit that I do seem to 'love' each season in its own time and have found that I do even more so since I've made a more conscious effort to eat seasonally, but fall is extra special because I do not want it to end!

I find myself spending more moments than I should paused down in our basement looking at all the jars that are full of food I've canned. I loved the different colors of food, sizes of jars and promised recipes they all store. On a whim I decided to get a rough count of jars and there are approximately 230 jars of tomatoes, pickled items, vegetables, soups, salsas, jams and fruit stored in our basement. I had no idea! No wonder I keep running out of jars. I found 5 more at a very quick rummage sale stop yesterday and will have them full shortly. I've got a big bag of green tomatoes to continue to use and just need a few more jars... I can't tell you how many times I've told my husband that I just need a few more jars, a few more jars. He asked when I'll have enough. When I'm ready to start downsizing canning after the kids leave home was my answer. I (kind of) believe that you add jars until you start subtracting jars. I also figure that more jars I have, the more I fill, the more I can share if the moment strikes, the more we can use any and all produce gifted to us or found inexpensively. And the more we have to get us through winter!

We are also waiting on our 1/4 of grass fed beef. It will be ready in a week or two (is at the processors) and the freezer is waiting! It has been a struggle to get the freezer empty in a time when I want to be filling it. I would have frozen many more vegetables this year, but we only have a smallish chest freezer because our basement door will not fit any other size. And normally that would still have not been a problem. However, I have been pumping milk 'just in case' and have about 1000 ounces of milk stored as well. The milk takes up a lot of room, but it gets priority over the vegetables since it can't be replaced at the grocery store! Here is hoping that I won't find my milk gone at 6 months and that this frozen milk can be used much later or donated to someone.

I find myself more and more content (from staring at all my jars) during this season of plenty. It reminds me of something that Laura said in one of the Little House books. I don't know the exact quote, but basically she was always so happy in the fall when the house was full of things to get them through the winter. I feel the same way! This is definitely a Finer Thing.

Have a great weekend,

Thursday, September 30, 2010

And Now An ELMO Cake!

EDIT: I'll be adding pictures and such soon. This was written a few weeks ago and I never got them put in. SORRY!

Mike has been gone all week playing for libraries in very northern Minnesota. At one point he could see Canada across the water! Funny thing is that he is often told he sounds like he is from Canada, which he didn't agree with after listening to Canadian radio and TV personalities. Then at one of the libraries (less than 30 minutes from the Canadian border) someone told him he sounded like he was from Canada! Made me laugh since he just can't get away from that accent of his. For the record he is from the Milwaukee area and has no relatives that live anywhere north of Milwaukee.

Because of Daddy's absence we invited a friend over to play one day so I could have an adult conversation and Little Guy could burn off some energy. About 3 hours before they arrived for dinner and playing I realized that the next day was that little boy's 2nd birthday. And I hadn't planned on anything special for him. So off to the races I went and whipped up a cake!

This was a very simple, not that great looking, but did the job and made two little boys happy kind of decorated cake. My Little Guy LOVES Elmo and I have seen many different Elmo cakes around the internet. I've always figured I'd make him one, but never really had a good excuse to add more butter cream and cake to our lives. I figured this was a good reason to do so!

First I whipped up our standard chocolate cake recipe. I just did a single recipe worth and split the batter between two round pans. I don't have any special cake pans (I think they sell an actual Elmo pan) but I think you can make a lot of fun cakes with your basic round and square cake pans! This made for two very thin layers as the recipe would typically make one round layer or an 8x8 pan. I did this so they would cook faster since time was of the essence. Once they were out of the oven I flipped them out of the pans, let them cool a few minutes and then put them in my cake carrier. I put the first layer down, added a thin layer of raspberry jam to adhere them and then popped the second layer on top. Since the cake was still warm I threw it in the refrigerator to cool while I got the frosting going.

I didn't have my butter cream recipe out so I winged it from memory and made it extra stiff so I'd be able to use it for piping. Once I took out some for the nose and mouth I thinned out the rest to make it more spreadable. No time for a crumb layer, but with a bright red color and a thick application it went on fine. Then I threw on the marshmallows and used the flat end of a skewer to apply some food color as eyeballs. I took some of the thick frosting and added orange food color to it. I was able to shape it into a nose pretty quickly and it turned out way better than the eyes. I wish I had kept more frosting white and shaped the eyes since the marshmallows are a little odd looking.

The mouth was a dilemma as I didn't have any black food coloring left. I used brown and it is okay, but I really need to get black if I'm going to do this again. I did the wrong mouth shape at first, but after checking a book with Elmo's picture I tried to fix it. It's definitely not perfect, but again, it worked.

Last, since I had extra red frosting (Why didn't I have extra for the Thomas the Train Cake? That's where I really could have used it!) I put it into a pastry bag and tried to make hair all over. I should probably tell you that I have two REALLY old pastry bags and one has holes all over it. I also have a total of 3 tips. I have no real professional tools (maybe it should go on my Christmas list?) and I just do the best I can. I really wasn't liking the way the monster fur turned out, but didn't have time to try anything else.

Again, this was not my best cake, but it really surprised the birthday boy and my Little Guy LOVED having an Elmo cake in the house. Of course, it was really hard for him to wait until they came, but he enjoyed his piece and the left overs the next day!

And I should mention that we met this little boy and his mom through our Bradley class. I cannot say enough for the wonderful support we've gotten from the families in that class. The seven families have all stayed in touch and we are all celebrating 2nd birthdays this year. There is nothing like having moms to encourage you through the challenging times and cheer with you through the wonderful moments. It is so awesome to have a group of people with similar outlooks on birth and child rearing that are going through the exact same stages as you at the same time. I am so grateful that we took that class and that our group has stayed in touch! This summer we've welcomed 4 more new siblings (Peanut, another little girl and a set of twins, one boy and one girl) and we've got one more on the way fairly shortly. Such fun!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fall Is In The Air...I Think

To quote a friend "What is up with our psycho weather lately?" I couldn't agree more! This week we have literally been on a weather roller coaster with highs going from mid 60s to 87 with none really in the middle. It has been a-- is today a shorts and t-shirts day or should we be layering more than just the long sleeve shirt and full sweatsuit?--kind of week. Every other day has been hot, then cold, then hot, then cold and now today is a second in a row cold one. So, since the weather folks say it is going to stay chilly all weekend I am going to say that fall is officially in the air! That and the 40 mile an hour winds are expected to die down finally so we'll be able to enjoy some calm air.

Last week we spent a day up in the area of state that I grew up in. It was a beautiful, sunny day perfect for getting out of the city. As we drove through farm country we caught a few glimpses of the colors of fall on the early bird trees. The harvest is well underway, trees are heavy with apples and pears, garden produce was set out in yards and roadside stands and we even saw a sign advertising eggs for a dollar. Yes, we stopped in, but sadly (very sadly) no one was home. We saw the chickens running around so no doubt that the eggs were from free ranged chickens and I am still sad that we couldn't fill our cooler with all the eggs they had! I did put some money in the coffee pot and helped myself to some tomatoes, 2 green peppers, and a handful of tiny onions.

Our first destination was to have lunch and pick apples with a family friend. He and his wife were like an aunt and uncle to us growing up and sadly almost exactly a year ago, his wife passed away. Since then I've tried to stay in touch with him with Christmas cards and such, but it was nice to take him a birthday cake in person. We had picked a ton of apples there last year and our applesauce was almost all gone so he invited us up to restock. It was an off year for most of his trees (too much rain and such huge production last year) so we didn't get nearly as many. The apples are also not as nice as last year, but I am not complaining. These are apples that are completely ignored and therefore very organic and I am happy to get them. It was a bit of an adventure this year since the horses are now gone and the pastures are hugely overgrown (weeds taller than me in some areas). Considering a lack of nap and the height of the vegetation Little Guy was a real trooper! He was excited to see the tractor and to "pick apple up" and goodness knows he adores the applesauce that come of these apples! Peanut was in the carrier and napped through some of the picking as well.

A good friend came to join us and then invited us to her mom's farm to clean out the garden and pick pears. Her mom is moving to another state and the farm was set to close in just a few days so we were welcome to whatever we could find. And boy, did we find! We picked a few boxes of pears, another bucket of apples, the rest of the beets (4 pints worth), a few stalks of brussel sprouts (2 dinners worth), a few last tomatoes, Swiss chard, two hands of beans, and then we found squash. There were some huge plants that had volunteered out in the pasture on the compost pile. We picked all that there were. I came home with 4 spaghetti squash (although 2 are not very ripe) and 19 acorn squash! And her daughter kept a box as well, so I do not know the officially count, but it has to be somewhere around 35 squash that were just growing wild.

After a tiring day of harvesting we headed back to our friend's home to meet her husband and have a wonderful dinner. We also got to meet their new chickens (previously lived at her mom's farm) and Little Guy got to help collect 3 eggs that night. A big day of country experiences for him and a dozen fresh eggs for us, wonderful! We also got to here more about their plans to adopt. They (and we) are praying for a baby for them. They have finished all the paperwork, home visits and such and now we are just waiting for the right birth mother to come forward. They are going to be wonderful parents and I can't wait for the right woman to choose them!

One moment I want to remember involved Little Guy and an acorn squash. I had a big box of squash, Mike had a bunch in his hands (and Peanut in the carrier), our friend has a big armful and Little Guy had one to carry. It was a good ways from the pasture to our van and we had to navigate the horse piles and a couple of fences to get the squash to the vehicle. Little Guy had not had a nap, had spent the day (literally) running around in the fresh air and sun and he was beyond exhausted. At one point I looked back and this very filthy, very tired little two year old was just standing there holding his one acorn squash. There was something about the sun hat on his head, the crocs on his feet, the dirt on his legs and the late afternoon sun behind him that made for the most adorable exhausted two year old picture you could ever imagine. For as slow as he was moving he did get that squash all the way to the van!

I'm so grateful for good friends, tons of free organically grown produce and fall weather!

Hope you have a great weekend,

Monday, September 13, 2010


Just wanted to let you know that there is an amazing opportunity to possibly find curriculum that you need over at Laura's today. Families have generously offered up things they do not need any longer. If you find something that might be helpful just e-mail the person offering it. If you are chosen tomorrow then you will be responsible for the shipping charges.

(Almost) free curriculum is a pretty amazing blessing! Make sure and pass the word on to those who might benefit.

Have a great Monday,

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Don't Blink

I've been thinking I need to use this blog to record some of the precious things my babies do that I really want to remember. It seems like I often catch myself staring at them trying to take a mental picture of what they are doing or what they look like at just-that-moment. I don't want to forget these moments/activities/words. They are here today and then gone into a whole new phase. Each change is exciting and new and fun, but then I have to miss the one that is gone and I worry that I won't remember some of the mental snapshots-because, let's face it, there are about a thousand of them I already don't remember and what are the chances they'll pop back into my memory at some point?

Hopefully I can stop of few of them in their tracks so I can come back and relish them long after Little Guy and Peanut have passed them by. This morning a few things they do that I love.

"Tank Too" (often with one little splayed hand outstretched)

Tank Too for the drink, for the book, because we told him to say it, or because he realllllly wants this thing to be gone right now. As in 'Tank Too onion' as he hands me the tiniest piece of onion you can imagine distinguishing from the other ingredients in the tomato sauce. He has decided he doesn't want to eat it and he wants me to take it from his finger. His voice gets higher and more desperate until I finally relieve him of his dreadful onion burden.

And sometimes Tank Too gets used because he wants us to take interact with him and his toys. 'Tank Too Mommy train' as he hands me a Thomas. Sit and play with this train, won't you Mommy?

We hear Peas a lot too.

"Done Mommy"

Newer development, but really only used when he is finished taking his nap or is ready to get up in the morning. There will be sweet murmuring and talking and sometimes crying as he wakens from his slumber. But there comes a moment that he is ready to be up and then it is clear and loud, crying or not, "Done Mommy."

Peanut is all about the smiles right now and since birth. That girl was born to light up and make me giggle. We could hardly watch a movie the other night because she wanted to talk to her Daddy. (and really, movie or play with our baby, is that even a fair fight?) She is into direct eye contact and cooing and early belly laughs and big, squish up her face grins. And doing my all time favorite baby move. The same one her brother did (and maybe every baby in history, but I find it to be especially sweet with my two) and made me melt every time I saw it.

The sleepy baby stretch.

The two arms bent at the elbows, fists clenched and up by the ears, neck stretched, back arched, eyes squished shut, lips pushed together, couldn't be more adorable if they tried baby stretch. I currently get a showing every morning around 6. I only get to see it once a day with her, but it sure makes my heart happy. And now that I'm home I get to see it everyday. Pure Joy.

Have a great Saturday, its raining here,

Friday, September 3, 2010

Incredibly Blessed

I'm feeling so blessed these days. In that 'can't believe this is really happening and do I dare tell people because what if I jinx it' way.

First off, I think I gave birth to an angel. Okay, all babies have a bit of the angel in them, but she is such a good girl. Our son didn't sleep through the night until about 7 months. And for months he was an up every 2 hours (more or less) kind of baby. I remember often feeling overwhelmed as the sun went down because night was falling and instead of getting to really rest I would be getting up and nursing, napping, and repeating all night long. I loved it, really I did, but now I do not know how I survived! This Peanut has taken to sleeping like it is her job. Even if she is really awake at night if I put her down as we go to bed she settles right in and sleeps. And SLEEPS. She has slept from 10-6 more nights than not for weeks already. She was doing 5 hour stretches from about her 3rd night. Occasionally we have a 3 am feeding, but often those are nights when she clonked out at about 8 and after she eats at 3 she goes back to sleep until 7. or 8. or 9. The girl likes to sleep. Now that we are almost 3 months in I feel confident I won't totally jinx it when I share the news. Here's hoping.

Don't get me wrong...not trying to brag....just really, really grateful that my exclusively nursed baby is actually a sleeper.

And the second thing that is really exciting and is a total answer to a prayer is that as of tomorrow I am officially a stay at home mom. I couldn't be happier! My maternity leave ended on Monday and my manager was nice enough to only schedule me for today and tomorrow. The decision came down to the last week of my leave and I wanted to give him 2 weeks notice. And he really needed my help for these two days, so I'm doing my part to make sure we separate on good terms. Starbucks has been good to me and I know I've been good to them. They allowed me to pretend to be a stay at home mom as Mike built up his business. I could provide my family with health insurance without working the all intensive, crazy schedule that my sales job required at times. However, with two little ones and a very busy husband it was time for me to be home full time. And with Samaritan Ministries it became possible to think about being home without having to worry constantly about health insurance. I am so grateful!

And as an added bonus today Mike spent the morning with both kids. He has suddenly become incredibly appreciative and awestruck at my abilities! :)

I spend a moment whenever I think of it to just whisper a little thanks. These two little ones are growing up so fast and I'm glad I'll be there for all the moments.

Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy your blessings,

Monday, August 23, 2010

My Turn!

Like many of the bloggers I follow I've been offered the chance to review something from CNS stores. There are a bazillion or so things to choose from so I'm going to have a tough time deciding what we need the most right now. Or want. This is seriously a place where your every want can be fulfilled. Want dishes? How about Corelle? Want cookware? How about Le Crueset at an amazing price? Want a Moby wrap? Want luggage? You can find almost anything in their 200+ stores!

Do you have any favorite, can't live without it, would take it with me to a desert island kitchen gadget or time saver that I should have? If so, let me know! I'm all about the time savers these days. Why does adding a second child make it seem like your time was cut by a factor of 10?

She's so easy going (usually) and sleeps really well (usually) and yet I find myself wanting to get way more done than I can. What would I do if she was a challenging baby? Thank goodness I'm not finding out! :)


Friday, August 13, 2010

Thomas the Train Cake Without a Cake Mold

My friends, that was my challenge. How do you create an adorable Thomas the Train without the standard train cake mold? Or without the fancy, shmancy Williams-Sonoma multiple train car mold? And I didn't want to just make a flat cake and stick his trains on it. That just seemed too simple and I wanted something a little fancy for the boy who LOVES trains and was turning two! I wasn't sure what I was going to do until I saw this. Perfect!

We decided to forgo a birthday part for Little Guy this year because a. I'm just now really feeling like I might be getting back to 100% and didn't need to set myself back by stressing out for his second birthday since he really won't remember it anyway, right? and b. Daddy would be gone for the evening of his birthday and pretty much every weekend day as well for most of the summer-can't have a party without Daddy! So it became a family day full of fun birthdayness from the time we woke up until nap time after lunch. And really, it was enough for Little Guy. He was worn out from his birthday when nap time came and I was glad for his sake that we kept the evening more normal. I think at 2 he could only take so much of the presents, cake, calling grandparents, and totally him, him, him focus. He was becoming a bit of a birthday monster, if you know what I mean! And yet, he loved every minute and still asks for his "choo-choo train birthday cake" and "Thomas train birthday cake" all the time. Makes me glad I figured out a way to give him one!

On with it already, huh? Please excuse the not great photos and backgrounds. New baby in the house, enough said.

First step was to bake two round layer cakes. I just used our favorite chocolate cake recipe. Then I whipped up a batch of butter cream frosting. I really should have made a batch and a half or so, but I got by with one. It was down to the end and took some creativity to stretch it, but I'm glad I did. It's not like we needed MORE sugar. There were only two adults and one 2 year old eating it! I used homemade strawberry jam for the filling because it tastes really, really good with this chocolate cake.

To assemble you cut one layer in half and stack them up in this order...full round, filling on just half of the cake, half round (over filling), filling, and then other half on top. So on one side you have a three layer cake and on the other side you have just one layer. It would have been smart to level the layers before I started, but I was doing this as quickly as I could between nursing, laundry, etc and just ran with it. Because of that my 3 layer part looked like it could slide off at any time and I didn't like the idea of that happening! To solve I stuck bamboo skewers through the three layers to anchor them. I cut the skewers off at cake level and you would never have known they were there. I probably used about 8 or so skewers just to be safe and they were no big deal when eating. I was worried they would be a pain when I was cutting and such, but they never were. Mike saw the cake around now and had no idea how this could become a train cake.

That is the beauty of this cake. Once you see it decorated, it makes total sense (at least it did to me, since I only had a picture to go on), but before it just looks odd! To decorate I first did a crumb layer of frosting. This chocolate cake is pretty crumbly and it needed to have a coat to seal. I left this coat white since many different colors would go over it. I also made sure to pop the cake in the fridge as soon as I was done with the crumb layer as the frosting was getting melty in the heat. I also kept the butter cream in the fridge as much as possible once I started dying it and such to keep it firm enough to decorate.

After the crumb layer I did the green grass layer. Once I had that done I tinted the remaining green a bit darker and used a pastry bag to do the leaves, some shrubs, and some other little grass areas as well as a spot for his big '2' candle. I used a toothpick to sketch out the basic outline of the tree trunk and the tunnel opening in order to have something to work around.

Next I tinted the brown and piped the tree trunk. I did the blue after that and because I didn't have much frosting left I made it bright so I could use the white crumb layer to mix in if needed. On the front I kept it thin, but solid and on the back I used less and kind of swirled it on. It actually looked more like an actual sky with color variation and such. At this point the cake needed a cool down so it went into the fridge while I fed the baby.

I took the rest of the brown and a bit more frosting I scraped out of the bowl (I was working with a very limited amount by this time) and made it the black for the tunnel and the train tracks. The tracks are easily made the right distance if you first lightly push the toy down into the frosting then do your best to keep the right width.

After I got that on, using a toothpick to make the edges meet up with the blue and green nicely, I added a few birds, his birth date and such. The top has "Happy 2nd Birthday" on it and is a bit awkward because of the crazy slope of the cake. Again, leveling would have been my friend! And the words on just on the crumb layer as I had no frosting left to make it pretty before adding the message.

Had I made more frosting I would have done the decorating order very differently. I would have done the crumb coat, then the sky (including over tunnel area), the grass and the top. After that I would have added the tunnel over the sky without worrying about edges, the tree, then the leaves and shrubs and birds and writing. I also would have done some edging on the top and around the base of the cake and probably added some bricks (like our train set) or stones around the edges of the tunnel. All in all the decorating took less than an hour of hands on time and it ended up looking pretty good. More time and skill would have made it a lot better, but I'm no professional and I just wanted to make my Little Guy's day with a cake he'd like.

Right before serving I added one of his Thomas train engines and the candle. Of course, you could also make the Thomas out of fondant or cake and really make it great, but I needed to keep it simple and the toy worked like a charm. Oh, and I'm not a professional cake decorator.

We set the cake in the middle of some of his train track with some of his other trains on the track. (It made for a cute centerpiece and would really look great if you had a whole buffet. I'm thinking a table of food with train track running all over it and round the food. Then a circle of tracks in the middle with the cake in the center. Think he'll be into trains next year?) We lit the candle, sang 'Happy Birthday' and Little Guy blew it out on the first try. He was so, so excited about the cake and that is what makes me the happiest!

Hope you have happy birthdays in your house too!

p.s. Little Guy figured out how to turn the knob AND push to get doors open yesterday. Previously he would only do one of the two actions at a time. We liked the fact that we could shut the door to the bathroom and Daddy's office and he couldn't get in. Now he can. Yikes.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Two plus 1

Today is the day after Little Guy's second birthday! I cannot believe that two years have past since his birth...or that 6 weeks have past since Peanut's birth. Time takes on a whole new dimension when kids are involved, doesn't it?

I'm hearing him stirring in his crib right now and his first words said on his second day as a two year old? "Birthday Cake!" The kiddo loves cake and cupcakes and isn't afraid to let the world know it!

I can't wait to show you the cake I whipped up for him. Due to the close proximity of his sister's birth and the complications after (including much, much slower recovery than with his) we decided not to do any kind of party. Yesterday was a day just for our family. It was a great day of presents, family time and yes, there was birthday cake. Specifically a Thomas the Train birthday cake. And for doing it the night before I think it turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself!

And since I've been horrible about posting pictures for the last few months I figure I'd change that today in honor of his birthday+1. He has taken to asking to hold his sister and then tells us to get the camera. It is too adorable to watch him hop up on the couch, hold his arms out and then pose for us with her in his arms. Of course, when he is done with it all he just starts pushing her off his lap, saying "tank to" over and over again (thank you)...so we've got to be ready to catch her! And I realize this is the first picture of her that I've posted. All I can say is sorry for the delay, it has been crazy. And yes, she is that big. We got an announcement of another birth and the babies looked so little next to their brother who is the same age as Little Guy. She is a "healthy, solid girl" to quote her pediatrician!

I'm so grateful to have this happy, healthy and too cute little man in my life. He keeps me on my toes and has taught me more about myself than I could ever imagine. Happy Birthday (+1) and thanks for being my boy!

Loving my babies,

Friday, July 16, 2010

Peanut's Birth Story--Part 4

And a long finish!

Daddy continued the trek to the center with me having contractions and laboring with my eyes closed. I did grab the phone and made a call to find out where Coral and Debby were since things were not slowing down as expected, but rather getting closer and stronger all the time. Based on our short conversations we would all be arriving at the center at approximately the same time. By this point I just wanted to be out of the van and be at the center. I was really working hard to try and relax, but was struggling to do so in the position I was sitting in. I had one moment of nausea that I was grateful to have pass quickly. There was also a moment where I got really emotional and choked up. I told Daddy that I’d told you it was time and really tried to stay focused on that phrase as I worked through each contraction. At one point we stopped at a red light and I told Daddy that he should feel free to push the boundaries of yellow lights. He promptly informed me that he had done that already!

One of the funniest things that was not funny as it happened was that as we got ready to turn left into the parking area an older man with a walker took one step into the driveway. We had to sit and wait for him to cross (oh, so slowly) and while we were waiting and I was having contractions a long line of cars was coming. Gratefully a very wonderful person let us through the line as soon as the gentleman was clear of the drive. We parked next to Debby who was unpacking her things and I immediately got out of the van and had another contraction against the side (right before 4:30). As soon as it was over I got into the birthing room and headed to the bathroom while Daddy and Debby got things unpacked. In the bathroom I was feeling overwhelmed, but told myself that by the time I felt this way with your brother I was only about 2 hours away from having him. I knew I could get through 2 hours for you too! By the time I got out of the bathroom Coral had arrived. I was having contractions very close together and felt like I was working hard, but trying to stay relaxed. I swayed and blew horse lips and danced with you. Daddy was behind me rubbing my hips and lower back though each and every contraction. Coral told us that after she saw me have two contractions back to back she immediately turned to the birth pool and realized it was too hot for me to get into. She turned the cold water on full blast and was also bustling around. Once Debby had everything ready she told me that I needed to climb on the bed so she could check me and take a heart beat reading from you and a blood pressure reading from me. I was not excited about having to lay down since there was no real break between contractions and I really preferred standing and swaying to manage the discomfort. I also told her I just didn’t want to hear I was a ‘3.’ Immediately Coral and Debby said “you won’t be a 3.” They knew I was a lot further along than that!

I got on the bed and Debby listened to you. As always you sounded great! Then she checked me and her exact words were “Honey, you aren’t going to believe it” and I thought the only thing I won’t believe is if she says I can push! Turns out I was at a 9 and when the next contraction hit your water broke and my body just started pushing. I tried to turn onto my right side and hold up my leg because I was pushing like crazy. Coral grabbed my leg on the next contraction and helped hold it and I just kept pushing and pushing. The only thought I had was that I wanted to be in the water and I started begging for it. Literally I kept saying “Please, please, please just let me get in the pool!” and after Debby was done they helped me get there. It was a wonderful relief to be in the water. Immediately the pain went down a notch and I was able to relax between contractions. It felt like things were very intense during each contraction, but that in between I would have a bit of a break and time to regroup.

In the water I was floating in and out of lots of different positions, but mostly I was on my knees and pushing straight down. Debby was very concerned since she couldn’t catch you if I didn’t lean back against Daddy or get onto my hands and knees. There just wasn’t room for her hands underneath me in the water, besides which she couldn’t see. She was also very concerned because she was having a hard time getting a read on you. Normally she listens to heart tones every 5 minutes, but she only got about 3 readings on you the entire time I was pushing (about 30 minutes). I was never worried about you, but it was obvious that she was concerned since she didn’t know how you were doing. Coral said I was in and out of many different positions and I know I often had my right foot down on the pool (one sided squat) while the left knee was down. I did get both feet under me at one point and I know I kept trying to go forward into hands and knees for Debby’s sake. Daddy just kept rubbing my hips and back wherever I told him/showed him to do so. He never got in the pool because there was never time for him to change!

It felt like pushing went so fast and compared to your brother’s birth, it did. In the end you were born all in one push! Your head and body all came out of me in one swoop at 5:27 pm on Thursday, June 17th. I felt like I went from a 100 (working so hard) to a 2. It just all seemed unreal how quickly it all just stopped and there you were! Debby commented that you torpedoed out of me in one rotation. I was leaning back so Debby had room to catch you and immediately you came up into my arms. My first comment as I saw you coming up out of the water was “It IS a girl!” since so many people had thought that you were. I was so excited to be able to meet my little girl!

You never cried as you came out of the water. In my arms you made a little noise, kind of like you were saying hi to us. Daddy was behind us and we were leaning against the pool. I said that someone needed to get the camera (again had not been out yet because of how fast things happened) and Coral was able to get some quick shots of the three of us. We didn’t think about it at first, but it is kind of neat that we are still connected in a few of them. Daddy got pretty emotional, which I didn’t realize since he was behind me. His first comment was that he’d get to walk you down the aisle someday. I quickly realized that he was awfully touched to be the Daddy of a little girl! Daddy cut your cord and Debby took you over to the bed to check you out and collect some blood for your blood test. You were 9 pounds, 6 ounces, 21 inches long and had a head 37 cm around. All in all you were a big, healthy baby girl! I also got out and headed to the bed to be close to you and to finish up delivering your placenta and get fixed up myself.

That night was wonderful. After we were both taken care of you nursed for over an hour straight. You were so peaceful. It is the word that all of us used for you over and over again. Coral told us that most water babies are quieter since they’ve had a gentler birth. You were wide awake for about 3 hours and we so loved the sweet time with you! After you fell asleep we had dinner that I had made and Coral baked for us. The chicken enchiladas were yummy and were followed up by some of the Birth Day cake I had made. Coral and Debby joined us for that and we all sang Happy Birthday to you! After Debby left Coral went into the other room and we finished calling Grandparents and Aunt Sarah. They were all thrilled that things had gone so well and tickled pink that a girl had entered our lives! We had a good night of sleep since you seemed to like sleep right away and headed for home about 9:45am the next day.

We went to pick up your brother at Grandma and Grandpa S’s house and told them your name. We wanted your brother to hear it from us as he met you so we kept them in suspense overnight! At their house he held you for the first time and he was so good with you. Gentle kisses on your head and kept saying “Baby” over and over again. After Grandma held you and everyone got pictures we headed home to settle in as a family. You have been a wonderful eater and sleeper and continue to be a peaceful baby. We are so thrilled to have you in our family and cannot wait to enjoy watching you grow. You are our sweet girl and we are grateful to be your parents.

Hope you enjoyed a peak into her arrival. I promise pictures soon. Her baptism is on Sunday so we are busy preparing for that...and more guests!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Peanut's Birth Story--Part 3

And the saga continues....

After lunch we laid your brother down and Daddy ran out to get some things. I laid down for a while and rested some more. At 2 pm I decided that I was going to go for a walk by myself and see if you and I could get things moving. We headed over to the cemetery and I walked as hard as I could. (Which was not very hard compared to most, but okay for me at 41 + weeks!) I didn’t get too far and a contraction hit. I headed to a tree, leaned against it and just relaxed my way through it. As it passed I started walking again. It was fairly warm in the sun so I just stayed in the shaded areas and learned fairly quickly to stay close to the big trees as they were good buddies during contractions. While I was walking I was talking to you my little one. I just kept chatting about whether you were a boy or a girl, my love for you and my desire to meet you as soon as possible. I ended up using the phrase “its time” over and over again. As in, it is time for you and I to meet and it is time for you to dance your way into this world. And the contractions seemed to be coming closer together and all were fairly strong so it seemed that maybe you agreed! I couldn’t help but wonder what the workers thought as they were landscaping and cutting grass and they kept seeing me swaying while leaning against the big trees. I had to be quite a sight!

I didn’t know how much time had passed, but I knew that things seemed to be moving along and I headed home to Daddy. I decided that we should get things together, drop your brother off and head to the birth center. If things slowed down again (which I figured they would with the changes) then we could walk in the Falls or go out to dinner. Either way we’d be closer to where we needed to be and your brother would be taken care of. I wasn’t anxious and really didn’t think things were moving too quickly, but just felt like we should take the next step. When I got home I realized I’d been gone about 40 minutes and had about 8 contractions while at the cemetery. That meant they were about 5 minutes apart which was closer than I had thought. I told Daddy my idea and he decided to finish up a few things while I packed up the cooler. Shortly after we talked I realized that the contractions were still coming fairly strong and told Daddy that we needed to not waste time and get going. Again, I didn’t feel panicked I just felt like we needed to get moving. The timing worked out well since your brother woke up and we headed out the door by 3 pm. We had called Coral to let her know the plan and she said she’d head over the center to get the birth pool ready and we called Debby who was with her grandsons and she said she’d get moving towards the center soon as well. Our final call on the way out the door was to Grandma and Grandpa F's answering machine to let them know we were headed towards the center.

Once we were in the van I realized that I was going to be having contractions while we were driving. I do not know why this hadn’t clicked with me before, but since I didn’t have any with your brother I had not considered what that would be like with you. Turned out I wasn’t too fond of laboring sitting in a seat with my seat belt on as it made it really hard to relax through the contractions. We were joking around talking about the fact that we’d be able to bill for 2 days at the center since we’d be getting there in the evening and you would probably be born in the wee hours of the morning or sometime the next day. And as we were driving your Daddy started watching the clock to see how far apart the contractions were. We quickly discovered that they were getting closer together! When we were almost to the Marquette Interchange I saw that traffic was backed up on every interstate except the direction we were headed and I was so grateful that we could keep driving. The closer we got to your Grandma and Grandpa S's house the harder the contractions were coming. We had polka music playing and your brother was trying to sing along. Thankfully he thought many of my labor noises were just me singing too!

We were only a few miles from S’s house when I told your Daddy that I thought we needed to just go to the center and have them meet us there. I was feeling overwhelmed with the strength and number of contractions and just didn’t know how long I could keep laboring in the van. Since we were going to be driving right past their house we decided to drop your brother off, but Daddy called them and warned them that this would be a fast stop. We pulled up and they were waiting for us. I got him out of his seat while Daddy unloaded everything. Grandpa grabbed things from Daddy while I put your brother down to have a contraction against the van. He got upset because of all the commotion and having been put down, but Grandma picked him up right away. We pulled away from the house to a crying boy with stuff all over the lawn…it was literally a 3 minute drop off.

More tomorrow! Part 4 here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Peanut's Birth Story--Part 2

The saga continues...read part 1 here

We had an appointment with our midwife on Monday, June 14th and discussed our options. Everything seemed fine and we weren’t worried about your health even though we were starting week 41 on Tuesday. Our biggest concern was that Aunt Sarah and the cousins were planning to come from Arkansas on the weekend and we didn’t know if they should. Also, starting on Sunday Daddy was going to be gone every day for a big part of the day doing festivals and libraries. If we got to week 42 and they started talking about induction we would have a real challenge on our hands. And even if things were going well I would be home with your brother and no vehicle if I went into labor. We had a three day window (Thur-Sat) that were quiet and we really hoped you would be here or come on those days. In the end you did just that!

At our appointment with Debby she gave us some B&B which was an herbal concoction that helps to encourage labor. Starting that day I took a dropper of it 5 hours in a row and pumped for 10 minutes each time to encourage the hormones that would help labor get going. I would feel contractions, but nothing too intense and they wouldn’t roll into anything once the 5 hours were up. We continued to walk a lot and do everything we could to encourage you to come. Daddy had a library to play on Wednesday and we decided that if you had not appeared by then we would strip my membranes that afternoon to see if that would help. Tuesday was the same as Monday and Wednesday was too, so Debby came over on Wednesday afternoon and proceeded with the plan.

When she stripped my membranes I was dilated to a 2 and over 60% effaced so we still had a ways to go. After she left I had a really strong contraction, but the rest of the evening was pretty normal. I baked a Birth Day cake to encourage you to come celebrate a birth day and we enjoyed a piece after dinner. After our walk we all headed to bed and as I laid down at 10 I started to have a few contractions, but by 10:30 they had stopped. I slept until 12:30 and was awakened by a contraction for the first time! The rest of the night I would dose off and wake up to contractions. Sometimes they came fairly often, sometimes I would only get 2 or so in an hour. They were all fairly intense and I would find myself waking up very tense. I just did my best to relax through them and didn’t do anything to wake up your Daddy. I was so hoping that they would continue and that things would move along!

At about 6 your brother woke up and I got up to get us breakfast. I decided to call Debby and let her know what was happening as well as get advice as to how I could encourage things along. She suggested doing the herbs and pumping, going for a walk and then resting as I didn’t get a lot of sleep that night. So, we did just that! We also called Coral (our doula and birth center owner) so she would know that something was happening, but nothing too urgent. As the morning continued I would have a few contractions an hour, all strong, but nothing seemed to be getting into a rhythm or progressing too quickly. We talked to Debby at noon and decided that if nothing had picked up I would take castor oil before 4 pm with the hope that it would kick us up enough to bring you. I was not looking forward to it, but since time was running low we thought we’d give it a shot.

More soon! Part 3 here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Peanut's Birth Story

Or the post that has taken too long to get started! I've had multiple e-mails and even a comment now asking where the heck this has been. So without further ado...let the saga begin! (Seeing that it is 6 pages long, I'm going to break it up a bit.)

When telling your birth story where do I begin? Do I begin with my missing the newborn phase within weeks of your brother’s birth? Does it start when we officially started trying to have you around the time he turned one? Does it start when I took a test and thought it was negative only to realize the test was defective and that I still didn’t know if I was pregnant or not? Or when we finally got the positive that I’d been praying for? Or when the practice contractions started exactly as the third trimester began? Or when your due date came and went without you showing up? Or when I cried and cried as your Grandma and Grandpa F. came and went and you still hadn’t shown up? Or when I started to worry about the 42 week mark and we decided to try a few more methods to encourage you to come? Or when real contractions finally, FINALLY started coming but didn’t really seem to go anywhere? Or when you and I took a walk by ourselves in Mt. Olivet and talked and walked hard and kicked the contractions into a 5 minute pattern? Or when we were in the van and I realized I did not want to labor there and that we needed to be to the center as soon as possible? Or when we got there and time just flew by until you torpedoed out into the water? I’ll do my best to summarize your story my girl. It has been quite a ride!

Your Daddy and I always knew we wanted to have more than one child. I think siblings are a great blessing and your Daddy wanted his kids to have them since he never did. So there was never really a question that we would have another baby after your brother joined us. What surprised me was how quickly I felt myself wanting another child. Within months of his birth I was ready to try for you and by the time he turned one we were both excited about when we’d find out about you. It took a little longer than we thought it would, especially considering how quickly we found out about your brother. In the end your timing couldn’t have been better since it gave me the opportunity to be home with you both while Daddy worked hard playing libraries during the summer.

When we finally took a test one Sunday morning I was incredibly disappointed to find it not showing positive. Quickly we realized the control line didn’t show up either and that the test was probably bad. After we came home from church I thought I saw a little dot on the ‘positive’ line and told your Daddy that the test was mocking me. It took a few days to get another test and when we finally took it I was already pretty sure I was pregnant and I was! We were so excited and had the opposite reactions that we’d had with your brother. I couldn’t stop laughing and smiling and your Daddy was pretty shocked. I think the reality of learning that he’d be the father of two hit him all at once!

Our pregnancy was pretty normal and your journal will fill you in on lots of the day to day details. We knew we wanted to use a midwife and I hoped we’d be able to use Well Rounded Maternity Center. In the end it all worked out wonderfully for both.

We were really hoping you would arrive just before or right around your due date of Tuesday, June 8th as your Grandma and Grandpa F. would be here. They came up on June 5th to attend the wedding reception of my cousin and had taken off an entire week to be here. When you had not arrived before the 5th your Daddy and I decided to invite Grandma to be at your birth if it happened while they were in town. While they were here they did all kinds of projects around our house, we went for lots of walks, Grandma and I went rummaging, she came to an appointment and heard your heartbeat and we all waited and waited. Your brother was born the day before his due date and we really expected that you would come around then too, but you had different plans. Grandma and Grandpa left on Saturday, June 12th having not yet met you. I was so disappointed and I know they were as well. We had the best time with them and they loved being with your brother, but you were the star of the show and you didn’t make an appearance! You had very different plans.

To be continued soon, I promise! Part 2 here.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Still Here!

We are slowly adjusting to life with two little ones here! Things are so different with our schedules now (due to Mike's work) that it is hard to know what makes things more challenging the new baby, the new schedule, or me taking longer to be up and running. All in all things are really going very well and I am so grateful to be feeling better. Our little peanut (who is no peanut, but I can't stop calling her that) is such a joy. She is so easy going, only gets me up twice a night and just goes with the flow for the most part. Unless she's hungry, then do not make her wait. The girl likes to eat....hmmmm, wonder where she gets that from? :)

I plan on posting her birth story soon. I'm writing it as a letter to her, but am going to share it here. I'll also be posting some pictures soon with all her details. I do believe that I'll end up calling her Peanut on the blog as it seems to be my nickname for her!

Hope you all have a wonderful 4th! Mike is playing in a local parade and I really, really want to take the kiddos, but we are expecting 90 degree weather and we'd be in it for a while since Daddy will be in the parade. I'm just not sure that is a smart thing to do with a 2 week old and an almost 2 year old, especially all by myself and not at my strongest yet. We'll see, but I have a feeling I may end up staying home. Then, because I'm crazy, we are picking up produce that night. We had no plans and the opportunity came up. I'm hopeful that it will be easy to freeze stuff that I can put up quickly. If not, I will probably give a lot away or compost it. I do not think I'm up for any big canning sessions yet. And we have lots more freezer space now as our company this last month helped eat up a lot of my freezer cooking.

Take care and enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Just a quick note to say I will be posting a birth story and pictures and such fairly soon. We are all doing well, but it took a few days to get here. Turns out my rather unusual birth injury became an issue and I ended up having (very unexpected) surgery after a check up on Wed. We got to come home that night (there was thought that I'd be staying overnight at the hospital) and everyone from the surgeons to the anesthesiologist to the nurses were incredibly supportive of me and our little girl. I nursed her up until they rolled me into the surgical suite (first time nursing mommy in pre-op) and I was able to nurse her again less than an hour out of surgery. I could not have asked for a better team!

I am finally healing and she is a doll. There will be lots of bragging soon...get ready :)


Friday, June 18, 2010

Good News!


We have a little girl...only she's not so little :) She weighs in at 9 pounds, 6 ounces and 21 inches long. She arrived at 5:27 pm last night at our freestanding birth center. She was born in the water and was this labor ever different than our last....

I can't wait to share the entire story, but basically we had a wonderful, completely natural water birth. Contractions kicked in big time about 2 pm and we were only at the center for an hour before she was born. Less than 30 minutes of pushing...last time 2 1/2 hours of pushing and a total of 46 hours of trying to make labor go and being in labor. What a difference for a much bigger baby.

Thank you again for all your support and prayers...more info coming soon!


Thursday, June 17, 2010


Maybe this baby is going to come after all....

Last night lots of contractions waking me up! Right now they've been about 15-20 minutes apart and are fairly short, but intense. They've been as close as 8 or so minutes and were pretty much all night with about a 2 hour break from 10:30-12:30. I finally decided to get up and get going and see what that does for them. I also now realize that (just like during my first labor) I have a hard time waking into a contraction and being relaxed. I wake up tensing against the discomfort and have to work into letting go. Hopefully (like my first labor) I will find that being up and about will help me stay more relaxed and let them do their job even better!

Here's hoping for a baby today :) Thanks for the prayers!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

41 and Counting

Just a quick update...still pregnant!

We've passed the official 41 weeks mark (on Tuesday) and decided to strip my membranes today. Here's hoping it did something to help move things along. Since we are starting to come up against a major shift in schedule for our family (Daddy will be gone every day for a large part of the day for about a month straight) and potential of induction we've decided to keep encouraging my body with many different things. We are still doing the herbs, the pumping and assorted other activities that encourage labor. You know, like walking :)

Tomorrow I'll be drinking the caster oil unless things change before then. Here's hoping I can avoid it! We'll be doing that in the morning along with the 5 hours (10 minutes each hour) of pumping and a dose of B&B each time. If things do not change after that we'll reevaluate. My midwife does not think a chiropractor is worth the money for me since I do not normally see one. She has only seen decent success when it is part of an ongoing treatment. However, she did say that acupuncture could be helpful if we exhaust everything else. Time will tell how far we'll have to go.

It is interesting to see how my emotions change from day to day right now. I am still very sad that my parents will not meet this baby until the middle of July. I really wish my mom could have been here for the birth. I also believe that babies come when they are ready and wish we were not having to do anything to encourage this baby. I know that it will break my heart a little if we have to do a hospital induction, especially since the chances of Mike missing the birth go up exponentially if the baby does not come by Saturday. I really want to be holding my baby in my arms, looking in his/her eyes, figuring out how to balance the baby and Little Guy and just be able to be a mom now...

Such an interesting journey, isn't it?

Still praying for labor,

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bye Bye Grandma and Grandpa

What a week!

This has been one of the most interesting weeks of my life, I dare say. My parents were here for 8 days and we had the BEST time with them. Seriously, my husband and I agree this was the very best vacation/visit we have ever experienced with them. Often there is some type of craziness when family is all together or my parents are distracted by the dog and cat rescue that they run. We've had a few vacations that have left us feeling more than a little frustrated or just ready to be back in our routine at home.

This one was wonderful. Grandma and Grandpa played with Little Guy, were totally plugged in to us, visited with other family here in the state, spent a couple hours a few times during the week working on their volunteering, went with us to the zoo, a Brewer's game, a playground, to rummage sales and just really seemed to be on vacation with us. They also did a bunch of big projects for us around the house which was an added blessing! (I got two little raised gardening beds!!!)

It really was perfect (with one tiny little exception). They were staying for a week in order to meet their newest grandchild. Said child did not cooperate. Baby 2 is still happily squirming around in me. I cannot tell you the emotional upheaval this has caused for me. I wanted them to meet the baby. I want to meet the baby. I had debated and finally decided that I would have my mom with me and Mike during the delivery. We will probably not have this opportunity again since my mom lives 9 hours away, but it seemed to be ready to work out perfectly this time. But it didn't.

The baby reminded me...I'm not in charge here. Baby 2 hasn't found his/her birthday yet. Baby will come when baby is ready. That may mean that things get a bit challenging here as Mike heads into his very busy summer library schedule. I don't know what will happen or how we'll make sure Daddy is there for the delivery (or how I'll get to the birth center without a second vehicle) but we'll have to figure it out if Baby waits another week.

I just wish, wish, wish that Baby 2 would have arrived. I cannot believe how emotional it has made me to have to say good bye to my parents without having had the baby. I've cried a lot in the last 24 hours..A LOT. I keep hoping that means baby will come, but mostly I'm just so disappointed and sad that things were so wonderful and yet weren't.

Does that make any sense?

And since we are only hours away from 41 weeks (and I DREAD having to talk to our midwife about switching to an OB and induction and no birth center) we'd love any additional ideas that anyone has about starting labor. Our midwife gave us a few very common and simple ideas before, but she waits until at least 41 weeks to talk about other options. We'll be having that talk tomorrow at 9am!

Pray for contractions is now my motto...funny, it was the same after my water broke with Little Guy and labor wasn't kicking in hard enough. I guess God really wants me to want to have labor.


Thursday, June 3, 2010


That's what I'm doing. Not very patiently, but still I'm waiting. And I'm taking phone calls from those who are also not very patiently waiting for Baby 2's arrival.

My parents are driving up on Saturday to attend a cousin's wedding. But really, they are coming to meet their newest grandchild. Unfortunately they have planned the trip (based on the wedding) before we know when baby will get here! Now my mom is in a bit of a panic worrying that Baby 2 will not come before they have to leave to go home. I've told her to think patient thoughts and come prepared to play with Little Guy. They planned a trip (also due to a wedding) for a few days past Little Guys due date and he performed perfectly arriving a few days before they arrived. This baby is due 4 days after they get here and we have no signs that labor is going to start anytime soon.

I'm also slightly worried that having my parents in our home will not be the best thing for me to be relaxed and ready for labor. Anyone have any advice about having house guests and putting yourself into labor?

This waiting and watching is an interesting lesson for me. I'm working on making sure that I continue to have trust that my body will kick into labor all by itself and that Baby 2 will not be a 10 pounder! :) Here's hoping that things happen sooner rather than later and that all goes well!


Friday, May 28, 2010

Baby Preparation Update

I'm happy to report that most everything is ready for Baby 2 to make an appearance!

The biggest thing left that I'd like to have done is a hair cut for me (and do one on Mike and Little Guy). I got my hair cut shorter before Little Guy was born and then it started growing and growing and growing. I think I've only had one cut since then and after a certain point I figured I'd let it grow enough for a Locks of Love donation. It is finally long enough and I just want it gone! The challenge is working in a time to get it cut. I told Mike that if it isn't done before labor I may cut it off myself while in labor as it really is getting on my nerves on my best days and I imagine it will be a lot worse when in labor!

The one thing I really thought I did well before Little Guy's birth was to stock our freezer and I've worked hard to do it again. It saves so much effort and money to have things pre-made. Especially when Mike doesn't cook! We got a pretty generous amount of our regular frozen stuff (veggies, meats, cheese, etc) and I pre-made a bunch of meals as well. To give you an idea of what we've got on hand in our chest freezer...

1 Sausage, Onion and Pepper Quiche
4 Calzones
Chicken Enchiladas (1 meal)
3 Large containers of Jambalaya
3 Veggie Lasagnas
2 Southwestern Veggie Bake Casseroles
7 Beef, Cheese and Bean Burritos
1 Recipe of Angel Chicken (just need to make pasta)
1 Large batch of Colorful Chicken and Rice
2 Turkey Pot Pies
1 Large batch of Cheesy Sausage Penne

4 loaves of banana bread
2 loaves of bread
1 bag of bagels
6 pizza crusts

I'm sure there are more things I'm forgetting, but overall I'm pretty sure that we'll be eating well (and easily) after baby comes. And thanks to the farmer's market we'll be supplementing more and more fresh local stuff too!

Now that the heat is better I'm feeling a little better too. I'm working hard not to be too anxious about getting baby here earlier rather than later! With Little Guy I fully expected to go past 41 weeks (like the average 1st baby) and for some reason I keep thinking this one will come in May (due date is June 8th). Baby 2 will come when s/he is good and ready and I'll do my best to be patient until that day. Although after Sunday we've got a fairly quite week...it would be really convenient :)

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Take some time to remember all the brave troops. I'm very grateful to my brother-in-law who is currently deployed as well as my numerous cousins, uncles, and grandfather who have all served as well. They are true heros.


Sunday, May 23, 2010


Another question in the title...am I in the uncertain, wait for labor to start, what should I do next, what is not so important as I think it is, why do I not have a bag packed yet time of pregnancy or what? :)

I'm just wondering if anyone who reads this blog has any experience with a few things that might lead them to think that labor might be coming sooner rather than later. You know, so I can figure out which of my many 'to do' items should get done and which I should just drop.

With Little Guy I didn't really go into labor as much as force myself into labor once my water had broken. We were so focused on getting things rolling that I'm not sure what the lead up was like. With this pregnancy so much as been different and these last few weeks are seeming to be VERY different as well.

To give you an idea, I spent much of this morning crying. Why? Really, no good reason, but I felt overwhelmed, under appreciated, stressed, nauseous, and just really off. I've been feeling nauseous a lot more with the end of this pregnancy than I did before and today it is really, really hot. Heat is not my friend when I am pregnant!

So, anyone out there ever been really nauseous and/or really, really emotional at the end of a pregnancy? Got any advice? It would sure be appreciated!


Friday, May 21, 2010


Just a quick note to say that I am still alive and to rant on something that kind of blows my mind.

First off, Baby 2 is moving down and has been given the all clear for delivery anytime! We are at about 37 1/2 weeks, so sometime between now and mid-June we'll be off to the birth center. I definitely feel the preparations my body is making more this time around. And I can feel parts of the baby more than with Little Guy. It is so interesting how different two pregnancies can be! Especially around 9:30-10pm when Baby 2 gets hiccups. I never felt them even once with Little Guy and they are almost a nightly event now. If you don't mind, I would love it if you would keep Baby 2 and me in your prayers. We are Strep B + (again) and will be monitoring things closely as we labor towards a safe, natural delivery!

Second, have you seen this? I saw a blurb about it a few weeks ago and thought it just couldn't be true. Yet, I absolutely knew it was. And now they launched the advertising campaign. I wonder what Jamie Oliver would think of this? If only they had strawberry flavor than it would perfectly set the kids up for school. They would drink plain old breast milk or formula for 12 months (poor kids with no flavoring in their lives!) and then from 12-36 months they would enjoy vanilla or chocolate (maybe strawberry if we lobby hard enough) whatever you consider this beverage to be and then go into Head Start or preschool or K-3 (whatever your area calls it) and start drinking flavored milk! It is perfect....

Ugh. I seriously cannot believe that there will be parents who will feel that their toddlers need this drink. They will feel that since the little one doesn't always want to eat this new product will balance everything out and make sure their kid is healthy. Then when that same child doesn't ever want anything that isn't artificially flavored or processed they will continue to give in to more junk foods "just so they eat something." I feel so sorry for those kids! And I cannot believe that any adult would give in to that. Kids will not starve themselves. Little Guy loves veggies and fruits and yet has meals where he won't touch a pea or a bean (his two favorite veggies). It doesn't mean we break out the chocolate. It means we don't make an issue out of it and at the next meal we offer more veggies. He was totally anti-broccoli for a while and now he has been eating it really well. The answer was not to avoid giving him broccoli for the rest of his life! In fact I always tell him how much he loves carrots or beans or whatever veggie he is turning away at that particular meal. I figure it can't hurt to be reminded! And there is no vegetable that he has avoided continually, which tells me that sometimes he just isn't into what I made or he is just asserting his independence. That's fine, but he'll still eat veggies every day of his life--or at least until I have no say over it anymore!

This kind of thinking is why the most common vegetable eaten by 12 months old kiddos is french fries. Seriously, does anyone (besides those running the school lunch program) think that a french fry is a vegetable?

Sorry for ranting, but seriously does anyone think this is a good idea?


**I do realize there is an unflavored version, but that is sure not the one being advertised! It is all about the flavors...new flavors...how exciting for you 12 month old! I sure hope anyone who feels the need for this chooses unflavored, but I'm guessing that will be much harder to find and not very popular.**

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

A big hug of love to all the moms out there. Today can be a wonderful celebration of what we've been blessed with and also a sad reminder of what we are missing. I hope that you spend your day (mother or not) remembering all the women who've been important to you in your life! And then give them a call (especially if they aren't your mom) and let them know.

And don't forget to call your mom too...she'll appreciate it! If only I could catch mine at home, that woman is a busy person. We've traded voice mails (hers made me cry) and hopefully we'll talk later. Until then, I'm busy cooking and cleaning for my in-law's visit. Someday I'll be the spoiled one on Mother's Day, but until my husband decides to learn to cook I'm making all the meals :)

And (not to complain too much) I wish more guys understood that gifts are not about the money, they are about the thought. I think all moms would appreciate a break, a massage/foot rub, a simple sweet card, or something meaningful on this day. Becoming a mother isn't about fan fare, it is profound, meaningful and moving. I personally think the day should reflect that...anyone with me?

Happy Mother's Day to all the ladies out there,

Thursday, May 6, 2010

His Voice

A moment happened today that made me have a thought that I want to remember. So, I figured I'd best write it down before it disappears! Our little Baby 2 seems to be sucking many of my brain cells these days :)

Little Guy has had his voice for quite a while. He isn't afraid to let us know when he really wants something (he signs and says more, more, more), when he really likes something (mmmmmmmm!), or when he really doesn't want something (no, no, no, no with shaking of head and often times his hand or finger as well). I like the fact that he tries hard to let us know what he thinks and the more he learns to communicate the easier it has become to meet his needs and enjoy his antics.

Lately however, he is going beyond the basics in letting us know what he thinks. He is starting to really get upset when he doesn't get his way or when we enforce our expectations. Typically he is a pretty happy kid with a very willing spirit to do what we ask. We really are very fortunate! It is a bit of an adjustment to see him really try and test limits or express such frustration when he is told no. The hands clench, back arches, he makes a stinker face and really lets his voice (scream) be heard.

Today he was 'sharing' one of his frustrations about something I had told him at the table. As he was being upset with me and vocalizing his opinion I had a bit of a revelation. I realized that as challenging as some of the times to come may be and as hard as it is to not get frustrated with him when he gets opinionated I am glad I have a little boy who knows his mind. He has an opinion about things and wants it to be heard and respected. I would rather raise a child who will know his own mind and let it be heard than one who just goes along with the crowd and does whatever his friends think is best. In order to raise him that way, I will have to deal with a toddler who voices his frustrations at me and my opinions. (He gets that strong will from someone, right?) And then a teenager who does the same. Lord help me keep my cool, but in the end he should be a stronger adult for it.

I realize this is probably a bit of a leap, but it sure helped me get a new perspective on his growing independence and how I need to address discipline with him. He has rules to follow and there will be consequences when he doesn't. However, I want to encourage him to have his own opinions, know his own mind, and not be afraid to let others know what he thinks.

And somehow I'll figure out how to do that without going crazy myself, right? Any advice is welcome :)


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Canning again!

Saturday Mike and I went and did the Freecycle produce pickup. It has been months and months since we've been involved, but they needed help, we had a gift certificate to use for the A&W near the pickup spot and I'm in serious nesting/cooking mode. Made sense to volunteer!

We ended up picking up 5 cases of nectarines, 2 cases of green grapes (most were composted right away), a flat of strawberries, probably 20 or so pounds of large onions, and a decent sized box of tomatoes. The benefit of doing a Saturday pickup is that the amount of total produce is lower, so it is easier to manage going through it and composting what is not in good shape without feeling the need to build six more compost bins. I expected to find the quality to be a lot lower, but it turned out to be in fairly decent shape overall. I was especially grateful for the onions since prices have shot up considerably in the last two weeks and we have completely run out of onions with all my pre-baby cooking.

The oddest part is that today, April 27th, I find myself canning. Nothing is really in season yet here in Wisconsin and I have 5 cases of nectarines to deal with. Some are not good, many are a bit discolored inside, but overall they taste good and can just fine. I've done two cases and have 17 quarts done, but I have to work tomorrow and still have 3 cases to go! I'm not complaining, just trying to figure out how to balance canning, being a mom to a very active and not very helpful around boiling water toddler, work and my NEED for a nap after work. Crazy times!

I'm just grateful that our family has a very full freezer, some shelves of home canned goods and full bellies. And when you can get produce for free it is even easier to be grateful for all we have!

And for anyone interested, I'm okay with using this fruit even thought it isn't organic. We eat a lot of organic/home raised fruit and I figure that some of this sprinkled in is okay. When it is free or basically free (see moral dilemma: carrots) I'm not willing to turn my back on it!

For more grateful people visit Heavenly Homemakers.

Have a great day!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Moral Dilemmas

Have you ever had a moral dilemma in a grocery store? A while back I had one and then this week I had another...

We are working hard to eating a more real, healthy, local, organic diet. We are also a family working hard to live and eat frugally. I am caught trying to navigate those two worlds as best I can and sometimes, I've discovered, it leads to moral dilemmas in grocery stores!

I ran into Aldi for some milk and discovered they had marked down a huge pallet of carrots to move them quickly. (Total aside, did you know that our Aldi has hormone free milk? Makes me so happy!) Our local Aldi doesn't mark things down very often, but every once in a while they overbuy on some particular produce and I am able to get a great deal. Mike was thrilled with the $.25 avocados I came home with one time! One this particular day they had two pound bags of carrots marked down to $.35. Seriously great price.

Enter the dilemma. Carrots are on the dirty dozen list at number 11. As a rule I've only been buying organic carrots and I can typically get them for about $1/pound if I buy the five pound bag. However, this price is almost like getting them for free. And I really have an issue with not taking advantage of free or almost free produce! I stood and debated and didn't buy any. Then I went home and stewed about it. The next day we were going to be right by the store and I bought 8 pounds worth. Did I cave on my beliefs?

I decided to go with it and to use them sparingly along with my organic. They've all been blanched and frozen and will be stretched out to avoid eating them all at once. I know we've eaten many a carrot that was not organic in our lives. However, I will stick to buying organic carrots as a rule!

Then I went and did a huge grocery run this week. As in spent the equivalent of 2 months of grocery budget in one day...YIKES! I've never, ever spent $200 in one shot, but we will be well stocked for the baby and beyond. We will still need to buy perishables and milk and such, but most the big stuff is well stocked and the freezer will be chock full of meals before I am done!

At Sam's Club I was checking out their meat department to see if they offered any free-range, anti-biotic free meats. And (of course) the reduced for quick sale stuff caught my eye. There was a big piece of eye of round that was marked a decent price. Normally, I would never buy that cut and I have not bought CAFO meat in about 4 months. However, Mike loves chicken fried steak and I've only made it for him once. The farmer we recently bought beef from does not sell round steak or cube steak so I will not have access to it until our 1/4 is ready in November. I made the decision to buy the beef and cut it into steaks that can be pounded down for his favorite meal. Again, it was a compromise to what I want to be doing, but it is something Mike and I will eat and Little Guy will have a different protein. My husband will be happy and in the scheme of things it will be okay. In reality we'll probably eat it about once a month, if that, and all other meat will be farmer direct.

I've decided not to beat myself up too bad. This is a huge baby step for us and our budget. We are doing great and we will never be total purists. What an interesting position to find myself in, though.

Have you ever been in a moral dilemma in a grocery store?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lazy Saturday

Today is one of those days when I am fairly unmotivated, rather groggy and just feel like doing nothing (for the most part). And today is also one of those very rare days when I do not HAVE to do much of anything!

So, I'm taking advantage of this wonderful intersection and am just letting myself be fairly lazy. I've got a load of clothes in the washer and need to hang them out at some point and I've got a huge stack of dishes that I really want to get washed. Other than that, I've got dinner going in the crock pot and Mike is away for most of the day playing at a library. I'm planning a quick nap here shortly while Little Guy is down for his and then we are going to putz around and try and get those dishes done at some point.

I know my days like this are really pretty numbered as I've got a list of things to do before Baby 2 gets here. I'm going to take advantage of it!

And so I don't make this a habit, here's the list of things to get done before Baby 2 arrives!

Freezer meals, breads, and snacks (got the groceries, just need to get cooking!)
Move co-sleeper and other newborn goodies out of attic space
Wash newborn diapers
Organize new scrapbook area---this could take years!
Get all 2009 tax stuff put away
Get garden area/pots ready and planted if at all possible
Practice, Practice, Practice our relaxation methods!
Finalize plans for Little Guy and pack up stuff for him while we are at birth center
Pack up newborn needs and assorted other suggested items to take to birth center
Get details together in the event we would transfer to hospital (insurance, birth plan)
Call insurance and beg to have midwife covered under gap coverage (here's hoping!)
Continue journal for Baby 2, walk everyday, drink my tea, eat protein and get ready for birth!

We can't wait for Baby 2 and yet I know it will mean less time and energy for other things. I just need to remember to get things done while I can and still enjoy these last weeks before our little one joins us out here!

Have a great weekend,

Friday, April 9, 2010

Babies on a Budget--Diaper Edition

Diapering...one of those things you just can't avoid if you are having a baby! Never all that pleasant to deal with, but very, very necessary. Unless you have a child who comes out potty trained. In which case I am incredibly jealous! :)

When we got pregnant with Little Guy I decided fairly quickly that I was at least somewhat interested in using cloth diapers. The more I researched, the more interested I became. It really started out as a way to save a lot of money. Then I learned about the environmental impact of disposables. And that you were supposed to empty the 'contents' of disposables (just like you do with cloth) in order to prevent ground water contamination. Then I started hearing numbers about what disposables cost and I became even more convinced that we should cloth diaper. Seriously, I thought it would probably be cheaper, but as I researched and price checked I found out how very, very much money I could save our family! Average cost of disposables per child $3240 and average cost of cloth $600 for all children in the family.

So basically, the 'eeewww' factor should be the same (dealing with contents and such), the environmental impact would be less and the cost would be substantial less. Why not give cloth a shot? Then I discovered the entire new language I would need to learn to decide which cloth to use! Talk about overwhelming....

So there are pre-folds, Chinese pre-folds, diaper service quality pre-folds, one size, pockets, all in ones, contoured, fitted, covers, wool soakers, snappis, microfiber inserts, hemp inserts, bamboo inserts and then there are all of the same choices, but in organic and then there are the name brands, and those made by at home moms and all the used choices and then there abbreviations that people use, but I didn't understand. I'm sure I've missed about 45 other different terms I kept hearing, but all in all my head pretty much started spinning. I am college educated and actually really like researching things, but I was way overloaded! It may have been because I was pregnant and had mommy brain, but it just seemed more confusing than it needed to be!

I started talking to Mike about options, prices and the whole idea. He was onboard and supportive from the beginning. Mike never baby sat and had never changed a diaper. He figured if he had to learn and he learned with cloth he wouldn't know any different. Have I mentioned that I love my husband? And we knew there would be laundry, but I work part time and Mike is at home when I'm at work so we figured we could probably keep up with it. Really it is one load every couple of days, not too much all in all. Really, really love that man!

I finally figured I should keep it simple and make a decision. I read many good things about Kissaluv 0s for newborns, especially those who are breastfed. These diapers were the kind that needed covers and there were a ton of different recommendations. I read many more good things about using one size diapers since they can take a baby from 8 pounds up to about 35. Basically kids can use them until they are potty trained, so it is truly a one time investment. I kept hearing about bumGenius and Happy Heiny diapers and decided to focus on those. Their one size diapers are pockets, which just means that they have a slit on the inside where you put an insert. The insert is what actually does the absorbing and the diapers come with inserts. Of course, you can always buy more inserts or ones made of different materials (hemp, bamboo, etc) but the basics are there when you get started.

I focused on finding those three brands. The Kissaluvs for when Little Guy was newborn and one size diapers to move into as he got a little bigger. I was open to finding used diapers in order to further lower our cost. I also figured if I bought used and it didn't work out I could resell them and we wouldn't lose any money. I knew we'd take a hit of some sort if I bought new and we decided we didn't like them. I ended up searching on craigslist, diaperswappers, and even asking at rummage sales when I saw things that indicated a possible cloth diapering family.

In the end we bought 5 used bumGenius 2.0s. They were in perfect shape (seriously doubt they were used more than once or twice) and have held up very well. I think bG are diapers that continue to look really nice inside and out, but we've heard from many friends who bought new 3.0s that they have issues with the velcro. We are glad ours are older even if they only came with one insert (the new ones come with two). We also bought 12 used Happy Heinys. These came with two inserts which is helpful at night as we could double Little Guy up as he became a heavier wetter. These looked rougher when we bought them, but they are our work horses. My husband prefers these and overall we seem to have less leaking when using our HH. We were also gifted 2 of these new and very quickly we could not see any difference between the new and the used. The lining of Happy Heiny diapers just gets more beat up more quickly, but it does its job! The velcro tabs are also much bigger which makes for a more secure fit around the waist. (I should mention that ours are all velcro, but there are versions that use snaps as well. The only snaps on ours are the ones that adjust the rise in the front...making it bigger as he grows.) All of these diapers were bought from craigslist listing here in Milwaukee.

We did decide to also get Kissaluv 0s for the early days. I bought a lot of 20 of these from diaperswappers. The person was patient with me as I was such a newbie! The days these came I was in serious nesting, momma mode and just fell in love with them. They are so tiny and such soft colors and I was totally excited to have my baby and put him in them! I believe we got a cover or two as part of the package, but I knew we'd need a few more. I found a mom through rummage sale asking who sold me another 6 Kissaluvs and a couple of covers. Then she suggested I also buy her 12 prefolds. I wasn't sure about those, but decided the price was low enough that they would be my insurance. If we didn't like them, I'd sell them and we would have them on hand in case laundry became overwhelming during the early days when changes happen so, so often. It turns out we didn't love them, but they did help out a few times. We've kept them, but if we don't use them more with this baby we will be selling them. I figure I'd rather use the money to buy one or two more one size diapers. We used our KL0s for about 2 months and do not think they were absolutely necessary, but I'm glad we had them. They fit during those little days and I'm not positive that the one size would have.

We spent less than $400 for all our diapers and wash cloths that we use for wipes. The diapers were all used. And they are still being used! And they will be used even more shortly! Now we are working to build up our stash for when Baby 2 and Little Guy are both in one size. We've added another 5 Happy Heinys I found on craigslist and we figure we still need to add some more. I'm guessing we'll spend less than an additional $100 on diapers for this baby. And really, we could just use what we have, but like to have enough that we do not wash a load of diapers every day.

There are many ways to save on disposables (coupons, store brands, etc) but the best way to save money on diapers is to use cloth. We figure we paid for our stash by the time Little Guy was about 4 months old. And we've had almost no expense since then. We wash our diapers in Charlie's Soap, in case you are wondering about caring for them. We hang them out on a line or in our basement (during the winter) and only very occasionally dry them in the dryer (again, in the winter.) We love them so much we've been known to hog the conversation around new parents and extol the virtues of cloth diapering if they are at all interested or asking questions. My husband actually talks about it with his friends! And yes, my husband washes diapers! Love him :)

If you have any questions or comments about cloth diapering or the love and care of them I am more than willing to answer questions. Some wonderful moms responded when I was asking questions and were more than happy to answer my questions. I'm more than willing to continue paying it forward! Be warned, some people do become cloth diaper addicts and get very into the different styles, prints, and options which can become very pricey. We may love our diapers, but we've kept it simple and I've worked to keep our budget low!

Happy Diapering!