Monday, October 31, 2011

tired. hungry. too much to do.

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I'm tired.  I'm hungry.

This is a bad combination, in that what I want to eat requires me cooking.

Yummy things like pumpkin muffins.  Carrot cake.  Homemade bread.  Cupcakes.  Cake pops. White chocolate macademia nut cookies.  Granola (had to throw something "health" in there, right?) Notice a sugar theme?

Savory things would be great, too - like cheesy crackers, homemade mac and cheese, corn chowder... I perceive a dairy theme, there.

But alas, clearly my energy level is not quite there. So much for freezer meals ready to go after Cakes gets here.

I seriously need a nap, and so do my kids.

But I also need to seriously finish up some things that are not food related - piles of laundry, moving some furniture, cleaning my kitchen.  Even some fun-ish stuff, like using my sewing machine to do some mending, finish a few projects like curtains for my bedroom, and maybe, just maybe, start on the quilt.

My to-do list is languishing. So is my dirty kitchen floor.

I think, instead, I'll sit here for a little while longer and smell the loveliness that is my lavender-mint zum bar. And think about sweet new babies.

led by my nose - that's zum scent! {Indigo Wild + giveaway}

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Lavender-Mint - ZUM BAR
Image from manufacturer's website
Last week, I tweeted about discovering the new Indigo Wild display at my local grocery store.  My son brought me one of the bars of soap I purchased, and I've left it sitting on my desk, because it really does smell that good. (Current favorite scent: Lavender Mint.)
I've been a fan of Indigo Wild for quite some time.  I first discovered Indigo Wild products at New Pioneer Food Co-op in Iowa City, Iowa, something like 2 years BC (before children).  I was totally led by my nose, and honestly, I still am.  I can smell the yummy Indigo Wild products from several feet away, as evidenced by my tweet last week. (Don't let that scare you though!) I'm always pleased when I discover another local retailer selling one of my favorite products!

Although I initially bought from a kind-of local retailer, ultimately, I had to go directly to the source. There are so many products available in their catalog that just aren't carried in most stores!  Extra bonus for me?  It's a company that is based in, and manufactures the products, back home in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Two of my favorite products are the Zum Bar soaps (made with essential oils, food grade oils and goats milk) and the Zum Body lotions.  The scents are delightful and natural. The ingredients are readable and the process is simple.  I wish they offered products that are 100% organic, but seriously, it's hard to beat what they are already doing. 

I love how the bar soaps fill my bathroom (or office!)  with a subtle scent all the time (trust me, a good thing when there is a diaper pail in the room).  Since I discovered the Zum Bars, they are the only soap I keep in my shower. I love that I don't have to be concerned about artificial colors or preservatives.  There are no harsh surfectants, so the soaps are gentle on skin, even mine, which is prone to dryness and eczema, especially in the winter.  When purchasing from them, I love getting the Zum Bundle (smaller slivers of different soap varieties) and the 1 pound bag of soap bars. I don't mind being surprised by new scents, and it gives me an opportunity to try out different soaps I might not have thought to buy.  I haven't yet met a scent I disliked, although not all scents are in my favorites.

The lotions are just the right amount of moisturizer for me in the winter.  I carry a small size of the Zum Body lotion in my diaper bags/backpacks wherever I go. The scent sticks around, but isn't over-powering. The lotion is creamy, and I find that it absorbs well and doesn't leave my skin feeling greasy.  I just have to be careful not to use too much, because a little bit goes a long way! There are a lot more ingredients in the lotions, but I don't find any of them to be frightening to this chemical-conscious mama.  I find the lotions work well on my dry patches and itchy pregnancy skin. 

Another thing I like about Indigo Wild is the catalog. I love the humor. It's nice to see a catalog that makes you smile a little bit. I enjoy looking through for new products and scents. 

One product line I wish they would add would be a Mama's line - how about some products geared at expectant or new mothers?  Maybe call it Zum Mama?

I suggest you give Indigo Wild a try.  There is a huge array of scents and products available, from body and face products products for women AND men (and babies, and even dogs!) to household products like laundry soap and cleaners.  They have samplers available if you're not sure of the scents, which is a great way to start your Indigo Wild addiction. Also, sign up for the newsletter if you want to catch the sales!  I usually buy when they have a great deal going on and the newsletter is a great way to keep up to date.
And, for grins and giggles, because I love this stuff so much that I need to share the love, I'm giving away a Zum Sampler!

To enter for a chance to win a Zum Sampler, leave a comment below (not on Facebook or email) telling me about your favorite scents (any scents, not just those carried by Indigo Wild)!

One entry per person. Open to US mailing addresses only. Giveaway ends at 9:00 pm CST November 28, 2011. (I'm hopeful Cakes will have arrived by then, thus avoiding any drawing delays due to baby.) I'll announce the winner on or about November 30, 2011.  Winner will be selected by  If I have a way to contact the winner, I will attempt to do so. It is, however, the responsibility of the winner to contact me within 5 days of announcing the winner.

Disclosure: I love Indigo Wild, but they don't know who I am, except when I buy their stuff.  So, take that to mean that this post is in no way sponsored by Indigo Wild.  I buy it, and I give you my own honest opinion about it.  Because I love the stuff.  It makes me happy. I bought the sampler myself to give to you, my beloved readers.

Friday, October 28, 2011

last "big" shopping trip

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This photo is entirely unrelated to this post.
It is, however, a cute photo of E in front of a very tall pile of leaves her uncle made.

Yesterday was my last "big" trip (probably) with just me and 2 kids.  We drove to a larger town about 45 minutes from here to do some shopping.

We returned shingles.

We went to Kohl's to find a new diaper bag since my other two are officially broken more than I can fix (no luck - mine doesn't carry any baby items other than baby clothes?!) and picked up a couple of newborn sized outfits.  I can't keep myself from shopping for something new for baby, apparently.  It would be my luck that I have another 8+ pound baby that won't fit newborn sized clothes.

We went to Panera for lunch (yum!) and got some pumpkin-shaped cookies for the ride home.

We went to Hobby Lobby to buy MORE supplies for MORE projects that I have sitting around waiting to be finished.  I discovered I forgot to get the spray adhesive, and that I forgot to measure the layout for another project, so I couldn't get the frame (on sale for half off!) that I meant to get.  Oh well.  It will wait for another year. Both kids were whining and wanting to fall asleep.

We went to the "school store" to stock up on more workbooks for E, since she's plowing through them, and I'll need *something* to help get us through those first few weeks after baby.  The kids played with the thomas train table set, and were sad to leave.  The ladies at the store were impressed with their behavior, and said I must be doing something right. Made this mama feel good.

Lastly, we hit the grocery store, since they carry some things my local store doesn't.  Now I'm stocked up. If anyone eats my strawberry yogurt before this baby shows up, I'll be very, very sad. I may have to hide one container somewhere in the fridge.

I'm not expecting to make any other day-long shopping adventures.  Maybe if Jude goes along, but I'm thinking we'll be sticking pretty close to home for the next several weeks.  Good thing I can shop on the internet!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

the 90's

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Totally reliving the 90's this morning.  I had E turn on my soon-to-be-dead ipod, and what does it play? Ace of Base.  Yeah.

E comes in and says, 'Do you like this song?' (as if she's skeptical that this is acceptable music).

The 90's.  I graduated from high school in the 90's.  At least I'm not stuck in that decade.  I think?  I listen to current music.  You know, like Cedarmont Kids. And OK GO.  Stuff my kids like. And whatever current music Jude brings into the house.  I also listen to stuff they don't like, such as NPR.  But they can deal.

I'm rambling a bit. But anyway.  The 90's.

My eldest brother graduated in the early 90's.  He was a super cool guy in his senior photos - he was rocking the mullet better than most. He's still cool, but now he's almost 40. I don't know how cool his kids think he is, but they'll learn he's not too bad.

My middle brother also graduated in the 90's.  He did not have a mullet. He was (and perhaps still is) a computer nerd, but a nice-looking computer nerd. Also cool, but in his own ADD kind of way.

My youngest brother just barely missed out on graduating in the awesomeness that is/was the 90's.  He may have been sporting a mullet at one point during the 90s. But that's okay, because he's in the Army now, and well, we just don't question his cool factor or hair length. He might beat us up.

During the last decade of the 20th century, I moved from one state to another, changed schools a few times, graduated from high school, and completed most of my college courses.

I wasn't too freaked out by the whole "Y2K" thing, but on that change over, I wanted to be hear the guy I had a crush on, one of the most resourceful people I know.  Good thing I eventually married him.  He's pretty handy.

I drove a red Saturn SL.  Now my nephew drives that same Saturn SL, with more than 250,00 miles on it.

I thought great things would happen in my life when I was 17 or 18.  I was wrong.  Normal things happened then, and the great stuff didn't really happen for a few more years.

It's been more than 10 years since I last experienced the 90's first hand.  Ace of Base doesn't seem that old, but yeah, it is. Maybe I'll go listen to some classical music for a little perspective on time and music.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

guessing game for baby Cakes!

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Don't pictures of decapitated/amputated bellies just seem strange?  Who's belly is that, anyway? And why is the focus and cropping so bad?

Now that we're nearly 37 weeks into this whole "pregnancy" thing (just a few short weeks from meeting Cakes!), here's your chance to guess Cakes' gender, date, time, and size!

I've provided some hints on the guess page, if you don't recall the stats for E and N.

Have fun guessing!  I'll certainly have fun reading!

And, if you want to see more about N's birth, check out his intro post.

I haven't posted E's birth story, even though she definitely deserves a post all her own. On the to-do list. :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

tea set {Green Toys}

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Even though you wouldn't know it looking in my kids' room, I'm picky when it comes to purchasing toys for my kids (I also love relatives and friends that are kind enough to give gifts for my children). If I buy toys, I like to buy toys that encourage creative play.  Toys made in the USA. Toys that are good for the environment or that are "natural".  Toys that will last.  I generally avoid branded/licensed characters.

When I set out before my daughter's third birthday to find a tea set, I looked all over the internet.  I knew I didn't like what I saw on the shelves at Wal-Mart.  Cheap, easily breakable stuff, mostly with some product logo or character plastered all over it.  And Very girly.
I looked at wooden and metal sets, but I saw that most of the wooden sets couldn't really be used for putting real food in (something I knew was bound to happen) and the metal sets were just unappealing.  Enter the Green Toys Tea Set.
Tea Set - Green Toys
photo from manufacturer's website

As soon as E spied it on my screen (sneaky child!) she told me she wanted that tea set.  I was sold on Green Toys when I saw that the products are made in the USA from recycled milk containers (as of recently, they have recycled 8,162,738 milk jugs!), the packaging is totally recyclable (I love well-done packaging), and that the tea set was food-safe.  Score!  Just the right tea set!

Here she is at her birthday party, being just thrilled at getting this tea set.

Tea party with a friend.

It's been almost two years since we got E the tea set for her birthday.  She still plays with it regularly, and her brother loves playing with it, too.  It's sturdy, just the right size for little hands, and easy to clean.  The lids for the tea pot and the sugar pot are interchangable which I think is a wonderful design idea. I like the simple shapes and colors, too. And the customer service?  The Best.  A couple months after we bought the tea set, we realized (alas, too late!) that Nathanael must have *Thrown Away* the teapot.  What is one to do without the teapot for the tea set?  So I sent an email to Green Toys customer service to ask about purchasing a replacement pot.  In response, they sent me a replacement pot at no charge.  Love those people. 

I highly recommend Green Toys.  Their products are made in the USA, they strive to be environmentally responsible, and based on my experience the toys are of excellent quality. The product line keeps expanding.  I would love to add the chef set and dish set, since I have two young cooks in the house, and the tool set, since they both are "fixing" things all the time!

Friday, October 21, 2011

36 weeks

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36 weeks. I can hardly believe we've already gotten this far!

Today, I'm doing photos in a different room.  The room I've been using this whole pregnancy is currently occupied with a pile of people and their stuff, making it not worth moving. It was much easier to move my bed, and snap some photos upstairs in our bedroom!  The light was better there, anyway.  This is also me, without makeup.  Pretty typical, as I don't usually wear makeup. Honestly, I have little clue as to how to "properly" apply makeup, and I've been an "au naturale" girl my whole life. Anyway.  So.  Me, in photos.

I think maybe the baby has "dropped."  It seems like my belly is sitting lower, and I certainly feel more grinding and twinges in my pelvis.  We're getting close to the day!

Random photo from maternity portraits!  Not a big fan of my expression, here, but I like the leaves falling out of the umbrella.

I have been such a slacker in terms of exercise this entire pregnancy.  I am hoping that it doesn't negatively impact labor, but I won't really be able to know.  I'm honestly hoping for a quick, easy birth like with Nathanael, although a little bit more forewarning would be good.

I've been pleased, in general, with my weight gain this pregnancy.  Although I will likely overshoot my 20-25 pound gain goal, I'm not too far off. (I think 26.5 from my lowest, 23.5 from my starting weight as of now.) I'm certainly putting the weight on differently, though - last two pregnancies, I was wearing size large, and those are too big (mostly the pants). Good thing I have a pile of size mediums, now!  I am totally set with maternity clothes.  I have probably way too much, actually.

I've been on a cleaning spree.  I'm trying to get things organized that have been sitting around forever, waiting for a place.  I've hauled out the baby clothes and the newborn diapers to get them all prepped for baby Cakes. I have to treat most of the clothes with something like oxyclean, since those pesky spit-up stains have manifest over time sitting in storage. No worries, though - they come out pretty easily, based on previous experience.

I have much more on my to-do list than I can actually accomplish. One thing I really need to move on is designing a baby announcement. I have designed and printed my own announcements for both E and N, and I have really enjoyed the creative process.  I've been looking around online for inspiration, and I have a few ideas percolating in my brain.  I also need to pick an envelope color from I used a blue/purple envelope for E, and a chocolate brown envelope for N.  I'm leaning towards something orange or yellow (because hey! It'll almost be thanksgiving!) but I might go with green.  So many choices!  Except for yellow. They really don't have much in a yellow envelope, much to my dismay.  But, moving on.

I STILL haven't ordered a car seat yet for Cakes.  I'm such a procrastinator. I just need to pick one, and buy it, instead of floating around the internet looking for the better deal.

I was having fun with the leaves.  See how they're falling all around?
And me all crinkly-eyed because I was so entertained?
Being so close to actually having to birth this baby makes me a bit nervous.  It's inescapable. Up to now, birth seemed far away. Now?  Not so much. My previous two births were so vastly different.  What will happen here? Am I prepared enough to be able to cope with labor? Will this baby show up during the daytime? (Might be nice.) Will I be annoyed with my children being around? Will they freak out if they're awake while I'm in labor/birthing? (We have couple of neighbors/friends on call if needed to be child-minders.) Facing the unknown like this can be daunting. I've done this before, yet each new birth brings about it's own experiences and challenges. You can count on me reading, reading, reading a lot over the next several weeks, practicing labor positions and coping techniques, and just wondering what new things this baby will bring to us to experience.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

homebirth preparation: birth plan or preferences

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 As I've done reading on preparing for birth, one thing I keep coming across is conflicting information on birth plans. I read one book that says to forget birth plans, just know your information, and be assertive. I have others that say be very specific about every detail, and then even more that say something in between.

When I started working on my birth "plan" during my pregnancy with Elizabeth, I decided to take a bare bones approach. I knew that if I were to transfer to a hospital, that we would be going because we were seeking things that I couldn't have access to at home, and that many of those things would likely be the exact opposite of any detailed, ideal birth plan I might have created. I knew that I could state my preferences for many things, but hospital policy and the needs of the situation might warrant some of those preferences being set aside.

I knew I didn't want to irritate doctors and nurses by having absurd requests.
I knew that anything too wordy, or more than a page was likely to be overlooked.
I knew I should have several copies of this on hand.

So how did I decide what to include in my plan to keep it short and to the point?

I included the information that my husband might not know, or be able to remember very well. I knew that I could work my way through whatever might happen to me, but that I needed to be an advocate for my child.

This resulted in the first half of my preferences sheet being my medical information and history, and the second half being a brief list of my care preferences during and after birth.

Here's roughly what it looks like (I've left off some specifics because, hey, the internet doesn't need to know Everything about me...) In each additional pregnancy, I've revised it a bit.  This time, I added a section about cesarean birth. I've included my commentary on this in italics.

Birth Preferences Sounds better to me than a plan, since I know I can't guarantee how birth will go. Plan implies unwillingness to adapt.  I'm willing to adapt if the situation calls for it.
Medical Information
Carrie Full Name
Date Of Birth: (one would hope a husband would know this, but...)
Social Security Number: (you really think I'd give that one out?)
Blood Type: A+ (over achiever all the way!)
I have two children, born vaginally. This is my third pregnancy.
Estimated Due Date: Mid-November (if you know me, you know I'm not set on a particular date.  But I'll include it specifically for the medical staff we might encounter)

Health insurance information (insert here ;))
Primary Care or OB information (again no need to share all my details...)
I am not currently taking any over-the-counter or prescription medications.
I have no known allergies to medications.
I am taking the following vitamins, herbs, or supplements:
Prenatal Vitamin
Calcium supplement
Vitamin C
Occassional B Complex supplement
Red Raspberry Leaf tea
Nettles Leaf tea 
Date 1st birth - I received pitocin augmentation for prolonged/stalled labor. I did not take any pain medications, had no episiotomy, and the baby was born without the assistance of forceps or vacuum. There was one small laceration that did not require stitches.

Date 2nd birth - prodromal labor (3 days), followed by precipitous birth. Few light contractions all day, around 10:30 pm they started in again as short, non-progressing contractions then picked up rapidly in intensity during the last half hour. Baby born 2.5 hours after first contraction.
No history of post-partum hemorrhage. 
I had one surgery under general anesthesia at age 13 for a reason I will not disclose on the internet. No biggie, but y'all don't need to know. No known negative reactions. 
Preferences for Care of Carrie
In the event that I require a c-section, I request that:
- double layer suturing be used instead of single
- no sedatives to help me relax or sleep after surgery, unless I request
- at least one arm remain free
- the baby be allowed to rest on my chest, skin-to-skin during surgical repair, unless the baby requires emergency attention. 
After learning more about cesarean birth, I knew that these were things I needed to specify, as there can be great variability in practice. These were the most important thing to help ensure later chances at a VBAC and at encouraging bonding and a quick start to breast feeding.
Preferences for the Care of Baby
We prefer cord clamping to be delayed until about 2 minutes or later. (This grand rounds was what confirmed me as a advocate for delayed clamping)
We decline any prophylactic eye drops, and eye drops of any kind.
We decline Vitamin K shots or supplementation of any kind.
We decline newborn vaccinations.
We decline prophylactic antibiotics for the baby for GBS. If baby shows signs of infection we will discuss the best course of action.
If the baby is a boy, we decline circumcision.  
I know that there can be a lot of controversy about some of these topics, but my reading suggests that there is no clear and present need for baby to experience these procedures during the first few days after birth. 
We would prefer that any newborn checks, tests or exam be delayed until Carrie has an opportunity to hold the baby, and that they be performed while baby is in contact with Carrie or Jude.
We prefer baby's first bath be delayed until Carrie or Jude can bathe the baby.
We prefer the baby be breastfed only; no bottles or pacifiers, please.
We prefer for the baby to remain in the presence of Carrie or Jude at all times, or if neither is available, in the presence of one of our support people.
We prefer for the baby to room-in with Carrie. 
Most of this section is to ensure that a good breastfeeding relationship gets off to a good start, and to do our best to ensure that baby doesn't experience the things we have declined.  Unfortunately, I know families that have had procedures done to their children without parental consent, and this needs to be guarded against.
I have managed to keep this all on one page, and in a normal sized type.  If I have other things to add in the future, I'll have to figure out what to edit.  Probably the short birth histories would be first to go.

Keep in mind that my birth preferences are designed especially around the need to transfer, and if you are birthing in a hospital or birth center, what you may need to specify will be different, based on your particular circumstances.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

maternity photos

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I finally have some photos to post from my maternity shoots!

Since I live with the photographer, we had the opportunity to do about four shoots.  Jude and I are both learning more about photography/modeling, and the first 3 sessions were okay, but we both felt something was lacking.  We looked at photos, and talked late into the night about what we saw, and what we thought needed to be different. Most of these photos come from a 2 hours session on a Monday morning, just before Jude took off for work. I really like them!

Monday, October 17, 2011

breastfeeding pillows {My Brest Friend}

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Although the title might suggest that I've gone off the deep end enough to be attempting to breastfeed pillows, I tell you, it is not true.  I do not breastfeed pillows.

As you might imagine, though, the fact that I will soon be producing copious amounts of a nutritional liquid for baby Cakes has been on my mind a lot.  I'm pretty confident this time around, considering this will be the third child I'll have breastfed. Every confident mama needs some good tools, though. I have the lanolin, I'm set up with the Mama Juice, I have a pile of reusable breast pads (Why can't I stop buying new ones to try?!), I even have some super cute (and sexy, if I may say so) nursing bras. I have Netflix and a remote, and I may steal borrow Jude's Ipad.  I also am armed (lapped?) with a breastfeeding pillow.

Friday, October 14, 2011

mama juice

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Image copyright 2011 Carrie of DangerousCrayon
When breastfeeding, women are supposed to drink plenty of fluids (to thirst should cover it, but that can be a lot of fluids!), and honestly, water can be just a bit boring. To help alleviate some of the tedium of water, my grandmother presented my mother with a homemade juice mix to give her some nutrition, extra calories, and variety in beverages to drink while breastfeeding.

The original recipe called for Hawaiian Punch and several cans of frozen concentrate.  Since I prefer
to avoid high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors, my mother helped me adapt the recipe.  I'll be mixing up a few batches of this in the coming weeks, and put it in my freezer until it's time to take a little break from water!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

wanna-be DIY crafter gal

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I've been on a wanna-be DIY kick.  I've also been using Pinterest, which I think is really just fueling the fire. Seriously, it's a great way to keep track of an idea without printing out gobs of paper, or having bookmarks without a visual cue.  Maybe that's what I love about Pinterest - the visual cue for awesomeness.

In case you're curious - I'm on Pinterest as (surprise, surprise) DangerousCrayon.  If you want to get pinning, let me know and I'll hook you up with an invite.

There are so many awesome blogs out there offering ideas and tutorials, it's hard to resist adding more projects to the pile.

I need to be very careful about which projects I choose to do.  At this point, they need to be very, very quick and easy, because I have SO MANY other projects that I start and never finish.  That is so the story of my life.  I have a picture frame I bought two years ago with a project in mind.  I have quilt material that I've had for 3 years, and I'm just now getting around to actually cutting the fabric.  I've been decorating my bedroom since last winter, and it's still not done (I think I have a DIY headboard floating around my brain somewhere... along with matching bedside tables.)

Oh, what a slacker am I! Unfinished projects abound!

But the projects are so fun, and pretty, and decorative... I'll get to them, though, and post them. Probably.

Maybe it just needs to be big stuff, like shelves and benches, step stools and uh... well, not quilts, although I have finished some of those. Did I ever show that?  I made if for Jude for his birthday.  I finished it just a week or two before Elizabeth was born, and my parents picked it up from the quilt shop (I admit I have other people machine quilt my quilts. I know. Not really quilting, am I?)

So, here's a picture:

I am hopeful that I'll have another quilt to show off in a month or so. Maybe I'll have someone pick it up after baby Cakes shows up.

homebirth preparation: helps for labor

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I've mentioned that I've been doing lots of reading in preparation for labor.

One of the things all this reading does for me is reinforce the things that can help me cope with labor.

One of my favorite books this time around has been The Birth Partner because it puts everything so concisely together, and even has a cheat sheet for comfort measures, positions, and movements to help with labor.

Other books to which I frequently refer are Sheila Kitzinger's The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth, The Pregnancy Book by Dr. Sears, and Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide by Penny Simkin.  (No, I'm not an Amazon Affiliate.)

For my birth binder, I compiled a list of things that I think would be most effective for me, based on my previous births.

Pain relief:

  • Accupressure - 2 points on feet, 2 points on lower back
  • water - bath or shower
  • hot water bottle
  • rolling pin on back
  • cold pack
  • pelvic rocks
  • "hula hips" - moving hips in a circle, standing, leaning over, on birth ball

Comfort during labor: (These may not directly relieve pain, but they can help with relaxation.)

  • rub or shake thighs vigourously
  • massage - feet, hands, head, back
  • music/singing
  • rescue remedy drops
  • liquid calcium

Positions to help aid decent: (Vertical/upright is good!)

  • See the pages marked in the book!
  • birth ball - sitting, leaning
  • hang on sheet from door (as in, something firmly attached allowing me to dangle freely)
  • squats
  • side lunges
  • walking
  • abdominal lifts

And of course, my reminders:

  • Drink fluids (just found a recipe for laborade in my Dr. Sears "The Pregnancy Book)
  • go pee! often!
  • change positions
  • rest between contractions
  • take pictures!
I know that there are lots, and lots, AND LOTS of different pain relief techniques, comfort measures, and positions/movements out there to help women cope with labor and birth.  What are your favorite "natural" or non-pain medication options? 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

blog updates

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For those of you who read through a feed reader, email, or on facebook, take a click through to the blog.  I've been playing with the design (I'm still using only the templates through available through blogger), and I even added an "about" section - "Me, in a Nutcase".

Tell me what you think of the changes!  Does the layout work for you?

Saturday, October 08, 2011

cloth diapers: my favorite resources

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Readers have inquired about how to get started cloth diapering. Since everyone finds their own method, and everyone finds the stores that they personally prefer, I'll just give you some sites that I have found helpful in my cloth diaper journey.

The first site that really stuck out to me in exploring cloth diapers was They are the manufacturer of bumGenius diapers. I'd heard lots of great reviews on the bG diapers, and they're a relatively local manufacturer. They have a How-To section that was very helpful to me.

The Diaper Pin is a great site to get cloth diaper reviews. Early in my research I found this helpful when deciding on the brands and stores I wanted to use.

Recently, I've found to be a useful site when it comes to getting advice and tips from other moms "in the trenches," trying to figure out how to diaper their own children successfully and easily.

I have really appreciated the quality and quantity of information presented over at Pinstripes and Polkadots.  There's a lot of great reading there, and bonus for me, also a kind-of close retailer.

In terms of places from which I've purchased, most of my diaper purchases have been through  Since they are based in my home state, I like that I'm purchasing from a business that is "local" to me.  They've also treated me well with great customer service.

I got my organic prefolds through They have a great selection of natural fiber diapers, and I've read great reviews on the quality of the diapers.  So far, my red-edge organic prefolds have held up well for 2 kids and 2 years.

Nicki's Diapers has a great selection and prices.  I've also purchase reusable swim diapers through the sister site,

I've purchased a few times through, before it was purchased by the current owner.  It looks like the selection has grown, and I've read good reviews about them in recent years.

There are hundreds of sites out there about cloth diapers.  It can be hard to sort through, so I generally recommend trying to get in to a local retailer to see products first hand and get a feel for how they work.  If that's not an option, using a resource like the diaper pin isn't trying to sell you a selection of products.

Disclaimer: I don't sell or make cloth diapers for anyone, I am not affiliated with any cloth diaper business, and I have received no compensation for posting about these sites

Friday, October 07, 2011

34 weeks

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34 weeks.

Here we come, baby!  We're just 6 (or so) weeks away from baby day!  Will this be a Thanksgiving baby?  A few days post-Halloween baby?  I know several people with birthdays in November.  I can think of 3 great people who share November 7th (Here's thinking of you, Matt. Thanks for keeping company with my baby before s/he got here). A lady at my church technically shares the same due date, but health concerns mean she gets to meet her baby a week earlier. One of my husband's cousins was born on the 16.  And my parents have an anniversary on the 28 (go 42!)   Assuming baby Cakes shows up in November, this will be the first November birthday in my or my husbands immediate families. I think we have pretty much all the other months covered between our parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews.

 Health-wise, I'm doing okay.  Today marks either a 25 pound gain or a 22 pound gain depending on whether I'm going by the lowest number in the first few weeks of pregnancy or the number that was the actual start of pregnancy. Either way I'm doing better than compared to my previous pregnancy.  Unfortunately, I overshot my goal of sticking to a 20-25 pound gain ("normal" for my starting BMI). I finally decided to remove my wedding band and put it on a chain.  Just in the past week, my hands and feet get swollen enough in the afternoon and evening that they are uncomfortable. Nothing awful, but uncomfortable. Again, better than my previous pregnancies, where I had that ring off before 6 months!

I'm slowly acquiring the things we need for baby Cakes and birth.  Biggest, most necessary thing we need but don't have?  Infant car seat.  I'm ordering one in the next week or so.

Now I'm really feeling the pinch of getting things done.  I must prioritize.  I decided to make an effort to schedule the things I want/need to do.  I am hopeful that this will spread things out and alleviate the problem of not knowing on which project to work.

I'm hoping we can get our last set of maternity photos done this weekend.  The leaves have started changing colors and falling, and I thought that could make for some very nice outdoor shots.  It's also supposed to be in the 70's this weekend, which would be ideal for outdoor shots.  Now I just need to finalize some nearby locations.  It would also be ideal to get these done, because I think the swelling will just get more pronounced the closer we get to guessdate, if previous pregnancies are any indication.

The obligatory "same dress" shot.  Can you tell I was really ready to be done taking photos?

Thursday, October 06, 2011

homebirth preparation: labor to-do

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I'm a list kind of gal.

I makes lists.  I make lists of lists.

So, it makes sense that I would make a list of things to do once labor appears to get started.  Assuming, of course, that this labor goes a little slower than the last one.  Last time, I had a huge list and we barely got around to getting out the birth supplies, it went so fast.  Not that I want it to be longer, but you never know.

Here are some things on my to-do list once it appears that early labor has started:

The practical:
  • call the Midwife!
  • get out birth supply box
  • prepare the bed (for homebirth, it's recommended to layer the bed coverings - a bottom layer of sheets for post birth, then a layer of plastic sheeting, the a top layer of a fitted sheet that can get messy.)
  • log on to  Or use the app on the ipad.
  • Turn up the waterheater
  • Turn up the house heat
  • mix labor-aid drink
  • make sure there's clean space on a dresser or table for midwife equipment
  • set out mama and baby clothes
  • charge the phones and cameras
The "fun"(seriously, most of this will probably NOT happen):
  • turn on some music - I have a labor playlist ready.  Yes, it does have Enya, but I like Enya.
  • have Jude play guitar
  • take a nap
  • bake a "birthday" cake w/ the kids
  • take a shower
  • go for a walk
  • bake bread
  • thaw out some "mama juice" (A tasty beverage for nursing mamas. Nice alternative to water)
  • do something crafty
  • perineal massage
Reminders during labor:
  • Drink fluids! (dehydration can lead to a slower labor and a tired mama)
  • Pee every hour (a full bladder can also slow down labor)
  • Change positions (again, with the slowing down labor by staying too still)
  • Take pictures! If we don't like them, we can delete them later!

I have no idea if I'll even get to anything on the fun list.  It totally depends on how labor goes, but having it written out cements it in my brain a bit more.  And, if Jude asks what he can do to help, I can point him to this page in the binder.

What kind of preparations do you make when it appears that labor has started?  

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


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Nathanael has his own way of dealing with crying.

He's kind of like me when it comes to crying, I think.  When I cry, you can't understand a word that I say.  I start holding my breath, and when I can squeak a word out, that's exactly how I sound - squeaky.

When he is crying/fussing/tantruming about something, we tell him he needs to stop crying first so we can understand what he's saying, or before we tell him our response to his reason for fussing.  We try not to do this too often, because we want him to know that it's okay to cry sometimes, but we are trying to teach him that crying because he's not getting something he wants to which we've already said no (like a treat) is not appropriate.

He's developed a pretty cute way of dealing with this - He'll be crying, crying, crying, and we're telling him to calm down.  Suddenly, he'll look up with a bright-eyed, (but no longer actively fussing) tear-covered face and say "Bop crying!" (stop crying). And he's done crying.

Half the time, he's trying to stop crying without us directing him to do so.

Other times, poor guy, he's so worked up that he'll be crying while he's staying "bop crying." He wants to, but it's just hard sometimes. So we've been working on learning to take deep breaths and blow them out long and loud with lips.  

He's also taken to wiping his eyes with the bottom of his shirt.  Apparently, he does not care for the feeling of tears on his face. If his own shirt is not available, he'll grab the hem (or shoulder) of someone else's shirt to take care of his face.

He's so cute and so little.  I think it could be hard on him when baby Cakes arrives and I won't be able to immediately deal with every need and want. We'll work our way through it, but there could be a lot of crying and "bop crying."
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