Friday, September 30, 2011

Nathanael words

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"Do it myfelf."
"I do it!"
"You're funny.  Hahahaha!"
Are you tired, N? "Go bed."
"See.  (what mama's doing) Stepstool? Big one!"

Conversation with Daddy on the phone:
Hello Daddy! At hotel? oh.  At watertower? oh. okay....  Bye!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

homebirth preparation: Spinning Babies

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One fun part of my birth preparation has been doing belly mapping to determine the baby's position.  I'll admit, I'm having a harder time figuring it out this time than with previous pregnancies, but it's been enjoyable.  A "me and baby" time. I can keep the maps that I create for the sake of seeing how baby moves from week to week.

As a person who is interested in birthwork, I'm always interested in learning more, and since I have a pregnant belly I can practice on, why not?

Why belly map?

Belly mapping serves as a reminder to me to do things to help keep the baby well positioned.  My labor was long with my first, and I think she might have been a bit malpositioned.  With my second, I worked pretty regularly at exercises and movements to encourage baby to the right position.  This time, I need the reminder. If I am aware of baby's position, I can do things throughout pregnancy to encourage the baby to fit ideally into the pelvis.

How do I belly map?

Basically, I listen for the fetal heart beat (this is where my fetoscope comes in handy), and using a simple circle divided into quarters, I draw out where I feel movement, and where I feel solid smoothness, roundness or lumpiness.  The Spinning Babies site offers a pretty comprehensive instruction on what to do and what it means.

Belly Mapping is pretty easy to do.  Considering that we live in a society that encourages sitting (hello, computer!) and slouching (but couches are so comfy!), it's easy for mamas to hold their bodies in ways that encourage the baby to a less than ideal position, which can lead to a longer, more painful labor. Leaning back and slouching tend to encourage the baby to put it's back to our back (posterior position - not as ideal), while standing tall, with good posture, or leaning forward and allowing the belly to hang encourages baby to slide it's back to the front of our belly. With baby's back to our belly (anterior position) baby is in a better position for a more effective labor.  Of course, there are no guarantees that a baby being in a particular position will result in a particular outcome, but my reading suggest there appears to be a relationship between baby's position and how labor progresses.

Besides, positioning exercises give me an excuse to play the part of a four legged animal in my kids' pretend zoo.  Cat or Cow, anyone?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

planning another 5k

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Me, at my first 5k, running the last stretch to the finish line, and waving at Nathanael, who couldn't quite figure out what was going on or where to see me.

I am again planning to walk/run a 5k in April - the same one I ran/walked last year. I'm not aiming incredibly high - I don't care if I do better than my time last year, since I won't be in the same condition that I was last year.  Plus, I'll likely be pushing a baby in a stroller, and might need to stop for a nursing break or something like that.

It seems a little crazy to be planning now to run a race in the future, especially when in middle of my last trimester of pregnancy. Who knows what will happen between now and then (except, you know, birthing a baby). At the same time, though, planning to run the race (and rallying family and friends to run it, too!) is a motivation to get me back in shape after pregnancy.  Assuming baby Cakes shows up near guessdate, then the race will be 5 months after birth. That gives me a month or two to heal up, and then about 3 months to start warming my body back into walking (maybe even some running?) a distance of 3.5 miles.

Previous pregnancies, it's taken me 9+ months to really get motivated or moving on loosing baby weight.  With an externally established deadline, I have a target.

It's a goal, and one to which I am looking forward. That, and a reason for new running shoes.

Monday, September 26, 2011

new domain name!

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Don't I feel all special now!?

I decided to go ahead and buy a domain name:

Nothing should change on the blog (I think) but you'll need to let me know if weird things are happening with my email subscription or newsfeed.  

So, if you have my site bookmarked, or in an RSS feed reader, I think it should redirect to

Wheee!  What fun!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

where's the heat?

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We have come to the conclusion that we need to turn on our furnace.
When we woke up this morning, it was 69 at the thermostat, which means that it was more like 60 in the bedrooms and at the exterior walls.  My toes are still cold. And it takes forever for this house to heat up once it gets cold.

What, says you?  Why the big deal?  Just go flip the switch!


Not so easy.   We have an outdoor wood burning furnace.  Which we love.  Which we had hoped to leave off until October, the typical time when we start up the furnace for the cold season.

We're a little behind in preparation this year.

We (and by we, I mean Jude) need to clean the ash out of the fire box, and haul it.... somewhere.
We need to sweep the chimney (it's short) and make sure that it's clear of birds and debris.
We need to cut wood (There's lots of dead stuff around - no worries about burning green wood, here!).  Yup.  We weren't planning to do that today.
We need to haul wood.
We need to start the furnace, switching on the pump at the furnace, and the pump in the house.
And then we need to baby-sit the furnace for a little while to make sure the fire is going sufficiently, and then keep adding wood every several hours to make sure there's enough fuel to get the house up to temperature.

But it will be nice and toasty once we get it going!

Friday, September 23, 2011

32 weeks

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Wow.  32 weeks.

I'm starting to feel the crunch!  Two months until guesstimated baby day.
I'm excited.  I'm nervous, in a good way.
Will this birth be like the last one?  Like the one before?  Something entirely different?


Look at the "then and now we have going on here.  I think maybe I notice a difference?

This pregnancy doesn't feel quite like the other ones.  Not different in a bad way, though.  I guess baby's movement feels different to me.  I'm all about trying to guess what position my baby is in using information, and I'm having a hard time figuring it out this time.  Seems like last time, I was pretty sure of baby's position most of the time (and confirmed by midwife assessment).  Measurements for belly seem pretty right on.  My weight gain is within normal range for me.  I guess time will tell!  I hear third babies are always different from the first two.

My To-Do list is growing, but I'm also knocking things off of it pretty regularly.  The one thing I'm not doing?  The quilt for which I've had material for the past 3 years (before N was born).  This quilt is supposed to be delivered in about a month to the recipient (my deadline).  It should be pretty easy to do - I just need to do it!

I've started to finally get on the treadmill more regularly.  It took too long to get back to it, but some is better than none.  I feel pretty good when I'm going at a good pace - about 3 mph - instead of strolling slowly.  Not as fast as my non-pregnant pace, but it's where it feels right.

Jude and I are working on a series of maternity photos, a couple hours at a time on the weekends.  I've never done them before, but I thought it would be fun, and it gives him a willing model on which to try different lighting techniques, settings, and photography knowledge.  A win for both of us!

We did go a little overboard in getting some nice maternity clothes for the photo shoot, but so far, I'm pleased with what we're getting.  Most of them will not be posted anywhere on the internet.  Just saying.  Some of them reveal more of me that I would be comfortable posting on, well, anything where a creep could steal a belly shot and put it in the mix on a pregnancy porn website. Yes, such things do exist, and people do get regular ol' 'I took a bare belly (but nothing else bare!) picture with my phone to share with friends on my blog/forum/other internet place' pictures stolen.

Anyway. Once we're done, I plan on picking out a few to post here. The rest will only be available in person, in printed form, for me to share.  Which I will, because hey, I think they're nice!  Still, though, I have to keep in mind that I didn't start out pregnancy tall and skinny, so I shouldn't expect photos of my pregnant self to reflect what I am not.  I still think that I can get photos that capture me, even if I'm not the media's standard of ideal.

After birthing babies, I kind of don't have problems with people seeing my body. It's a body, created by God, maintained by me. I don't need to flaunt it around or make it someone else's sexual object, but showing a breast or a nipple isn't anything my modesty can't handle.

And now for Picture Day in, uh... pictures.  Most of them taken by Nathanael.  Except for the one in which he is crying, because he wanted to take more pictures.

I luvs baby Cakes!

I put the camera on a tripod at the right height for him, and set it on automatic. He figured out how to look through the view finder and was getting a kick out of my antics. His sister didn't get the "look through the camera" until just a year ago.

And here's where we were putting the room back in order (we have guests sleeping in this room this week), and Nathanael protests the interruption of photo-taking.

"Say cheese!"

On of the few pictures where "Bess" wasn't hiding from his camera.

Mama, slouching on the couch. Don't mock the old lady couch and blanket going on there. A gift is a gift, and I have free furniture, so I'm not going to protest.  Except that Elizabeth has been jumping on the couch, so now it squeaks and annoys me, and I want a new couch only for that reason.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

homebirth preparation: birth supplies

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When it comes to putting together the supplies needed for birth, the list can vary greatly between providers.  Some want you to purchase a birth kit. Some have a general list and it's up to you to find where to get them (most can be purchased at drugstores or a medical supply).

My first time around, I wondered why we needed some things, or the purpose of some items.  I've included my understanding of the purpose of each item in italics.

Here are a list of supplies that we'll be gathering for birth:

During Birth:

  • Disposable large underpads (20) - these 30x30 or so squares are great for catching birth fluids and help prevent lots of excessive clean-up! Used during cervical checks, while baby is coming out, etc.
  • large stack of clean towels and washcloths that can get stained/dirty - the towels could be used to dry off baby, but also to clean up mama.  Wash clothes are often used as warm compresses on the perineum, or as cool clothes for mama's face and neck.
  • paper towels or extra cleaning rags 
  • plastic sheeting/table cloth - this can be nice to protect floors, beds, furniture.  You can put fabric over the plastic (as you do for prepping the bed.)
  • betadine solution - for washing hands and mama's birthing parts
  • hydrogen peroxide - good for removing blood stains from fabrics, for adding to birth tub water
  • isopropyl alchohol
  • olive oil - for the perineum - perineal massage during labor, and for a little lubrication during birth.
  • bendable straws - because there are times you don't want to situate your self to drink from a cup like one normally would
  • thermometer - for tracking mama's temp during labor
  • packed hospital bag - just in case... contains things you would take on a trip - change of clothes, toiletries, snacks, clothes for baby, camera, phone and camera chargers, etc. 
  • Labor drink (Emergen-C or LAbor-Aid), snacks - to keep hydrated and fueled during labor

Following Birth:

  • sterile bulb syringe (3 0z, ear type) - for sucking out mucus from baby's mouth and nose
  • basket/bag for soiled laundry - self explanatory, I should hope
  • large trashbags - again, for things like the underpads, paper towels, used sterile gloves, etc.
  • receiving blankets (several) - These get dirty surprisingly fast!  I think we went through about 10 of them in the first two hours of N's life.  They get soiled with blood and fluids as baby is dried off, and sometimes urine and meconium the baby may pass during those first hours.
  • baby's first out fit - diaper, cotton hat, socks, shirt
  • cold packs for perineum - great for first 24 or so hours after birth
  • ice - for mouth or perineum
  • sanitary napkins/pads - for postpartum bloodflow - some people just get adult diapers like Depends for the first few days
  • peri bottle - a squeeze bottle for rinsing the perineum after using the toilet during the first few weeks postpartum.  Fill with warm water or certain herbal teas, and it's much more soothing and gentle than using toilet paper.
  • sitz bath - for postpartum perineum care - warm water on sore parts and bottoms makes healing up nicer!
  • sitz bath herbs - to encourage faster, more comfortable healing
  • goldenseal powder for cord care
  • cotton swabs - cord care
  • container for placenta - bowl/basin to catch, large sealable plastic bag or ice cream bucket if you want to store/freeze it

  • Witch Hazel - for soothing the perineum after birth. Very nice when placed on pads and frozen, also nice for postpartum hemorrhoids

Things my midwife will already have with her (but some midwives ask clients to get):

  • sterile gloves - say no to infection!
  • cord clamps/cord bander - I love the cord bander my midwife uses - so much nicer and smaller than the plastic clamps most use!
  • scissors for cord - have to cut it with something.
  • fetoscope/doppler - for tracking baby's heart tones during labor. I have a fetoscope, myself just for fun!
  • baby scale
  • measuring tape
  • And a couple bags of medical and emergencies supplies I hope we don't have to use!

What supplies have you found especially helpful during and after birth?  Any that you felt were totally useless?

Monday, September 19, 2011

child's step stool {DIY}

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We've been getting desperate around here.

We haven't had any step stools for the kids to use in the bathrooms, and they've gotten creative - a pair of stacked paint cans downstairs, and a plastic file box upstairs.  I've known the need for a better step stool has  been facing us for some time, but I couldn't find anything in the stores that I liked (plastic or pseudo-wood).  After learning of a recall of some popular step stools sold by Target, I knew that wasn't the route to take.

I had to make my own.  I did a little on-line looking, but ultimately I came back to the plans at - the same place I found inspiration for my entryway storage shelf and bench (which I'm loving, by the way - can't wait to really test them out this winter!)

Yet again, I altered the plans I found just a bit.

Ana's Vintage Step Stool Plan called for the bench to be about 15 inches deep and wide.  I knew that was bigger than what would work in our narrow bathroom downstairs, so I took the liberty to tweak the plans by making them just about 3 inches smaller in those dimensions.

I am thankful to my Dad for letting me use his woodshop, scraps, and tools.  And for doing the big cuts with the table saw.  Some day, I'll do my own table saw work, but that will probably wait until he gets a new saw that isn't so... particular.  So for now, I defer to his experience.

For my step stools, I used 3/4" birch plywood and oak plywood for the sides and steps, and poplar solid wood for the brace pieces.

After we checked and rechecked the altered dimensions, Dad made the cuts.  I worked out my pattern for the cutout on the sides, and took it over to the jigsaw. Once the pieces were cut, we took them to the belt sander (Dad was doing some sanding while I was cutting. It really helped save time to have two pairs of hands working on this!). I tacked the pieces together with staples, then we took a break and went swimming.  Because, hey, everyone needs a break.  The kids liked the step stools, and they were even secure enough with just the staples for them to give them a try, but not done enough for me.

Later that evening, we went back out to the shop, drilled the screw holes and applied a great number of screws to the step stool.  Perhaps it was overkill, but they are STURDY.  Done enough to use for a trial run while we were visiting my parents!  The step stools are a great height. At just over 12 inches tall, they give enough lift for Nathanael to reach the faucets to brush his teeth and wash his hands.

I brought them home unfinished. Once home, I filled the countersunk screw holes with wood filler, and applied a lot of sand paper.  I know I need to work on my wood filler technique. I'm not satisfied that I can see where the screw holes are after painting, but that's how it goes.  I didn't take the time to prime the step stools, and just applied two coats of paint to each.  I suspect that I will suffer the consequences of not properly preparing the paint surface with primer in a few years, but I'll just deal with stripping, priming and painting then.  Perhaps I'll be ready for a new paint color then!

Overall, it took me about 2.5 hours build time, and then another 2 or 3 hours of finish time.  I'm slow worker, though, and did the work over several days, so that's a guess.

The step stools are great, the kids enjoy having a stable piece to work in the bathrooms.

Friday, September 16, 2011

blueberry pie

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I've been obsessed with making blueberry pie.

Before we left for vacation, I had a whim to have some blueberry pie.  When we went to the grocery store, all I saw was apple pie.  No good.  Apple pie is okay, but not my favorite.  Apples are made for crisps, not pies, in my book.  So I went to the other grocery store in town.  Blueberry pie, and strawberry rhubarb pie!  Yum! I gleefully opened the blueberry pie at home and began to cut into it. Something was wrong. Oh noes!  Mis-labeled!  Distress and despair!  It was a mistakenly-labeled APPLE pie! Sadness. Good thing I had the strawberry rhubarb pie in which to drown my sorrows.

I still needed some blueberry pie, though.  So a few days later (after we finished off the other two pies) I knew I couldn't trust the stores.  I needed to make my own blueberry pie.

Never made one before, but I knew it was time to add to my pie repertoire. So I hauled out my Betty Crocker cookbook and set to work.

It turned out great!  The crust was nice and flaky, and it was full of yummy blueberries.

Unfortunately, the pie I made this week wasn't quite as pretty (just as tasty, though!)  The filling didn't set up well in the middle, and I think it was because I didn't let the berries thaw enough.  Cold berries don't heat up to temperature to sufficiently cook the juices into a gelled filling.  Alas, lesson learned.  The crust was still good, though.

I think the thing that is saving my crusts recently is the use of a pastry cloth and rolling pin cover. I think it helps me to not overwork the dough.  I've also been trying to be more careful about how much water I add to the dough, and not overworking it in the bowl.

And, since this week's pie didn't turn out as well as hoped, I know I need to make another one.  I just need to have people around with whom to share it, so I don't have to eat the whole thing myself! Volunteers?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

homebirth preparation: birth binder or notebook

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One thing that has helped me prepare for labor and birth this time around is creating a pregnancy and birth binder.  I'm including quite a few things that in previous births have been scattered around in various books and places.  Organizing them all together helps me feel like I know where I am in the process of preparation.

Here are the things I'm including in my birth binder. I'll be posting about a few of these things in greater detail in the coming weeks.

Birth Supplies - things to have on hand, at midwife request or personal preference
Prenatal Records - my copy belly maps - for recording the position of the baby
Labor To-Do - things to get out or prepare for birth, things to do in early labor.
Helps for Labor - suggestions on coping techniques that I think may be especially helpful, reminders
Hospital Transfer Plan, including directions, maps, and phone numbers
Birth Plan Preferences - specifically for transfer
Post-Labor preferences for home

This list may grow, but it's a place for me to organize my thoughts, and have those thoughts in written form for Jude and my birth team to reference, if needed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

grocery fail

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Wow. I'm all about fails recently.

I went out to do my errands and grocery shopping yesterday.  It was late afternoon when we left home, and we had a few stores to get to before closing time. The grocery store was the second to last stop on my list.

The kids were hungry.  I was hungry. We got our groceries at lightning speed (well, lightning for a pregnant lady with two kids (one who kept insisting she was going to throw up, but really she was hungry). My feet hurt.  Nathanael had lost a shoe somewhere, so he was unhappily confined to the cart or my arms.  I decided at the check out to take advantage of our store's pick-up lane, where instead of carting groceries out to the car and loading everything, I could just put the kids in the car, and drive up, open the trunk, and away we'd go. I don't normally do this, as I'm all about the exercise of walking my own groceries out and loading them.  Not yesterday, though.

So out to the car we went.  I loaded the kids in, situated my self asked the kids what they wanted to eat, and exited the parking lot. Off to Sonic we went, got our food and drove home.

Did you catch that?  I said nothing about having actually picked up my groceries.
Yes.  They were still sitting at the store when I arrived home 30 minutes later.
When did I realize this?  After I got everyone out of the car and opened the trunk.

Huge fail.

Back to town we go.  A nice 50 minute round trip added to our evening.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Nathanael says

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Some things coming out of the boy's mouth (he's 2.5):

This morning at 6 am, crawling into bed on 'daddy's side': "Daddy has nee-nees?" Clearly he did not realize it was Mama helping him onto the bed. Seriously, the boy is obsessed with nee-nees (breasts) and mee-puls (nipples).  That's just fair warning to all females that might encounter him.

The VeggieTales theme song.  It's stuck in his brain.

Telling jokes (thanks Jacob!) such as "Chicken cross road?" Why? "Because, (big pause) other side!"
 Or, "Knock, knock!" who's there? "Banana Nathanael!" (cue his fake laugh.)

"Bum," which could mean some, gum, come.  So, when he want's some gum, it's "bum bum."

"Good Morning!" (Doe mo-nee!) all bright and cheerful upon waking.  Sometimes.

Barking and meowing.  He can't decide if he's a dog or a cat.

Car noises.  Including the sound of shifting gears.

"Hi, Mama!"

Sunday, September 11, 2011

remembering September 11, 2001

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I'm not an overly sentimental person when it comes to national holidays or days of mourning.

However, as we have arrived at 10 years after the attacks on September 11, 2001, I can't help but think of that morning.

I was a Super Senior in college (only one semester after 4 previous years, don't get on my case too mcuh).  I woke up that morning at my regular time, somewhere between 7:30 and 8:30 in the morning, central time.  I turned on the TV in my room to watch the Today show while I got ready, and I saw black smoke rising from the towers.  I don't honestly have really firm recollections of everything in the order in which they happened, but it seemed like I first saw the towers after they'd been hit, but before they fell. 

Classes weren't cancelled, so I went a head over a bit early.  Seems like we stood around the department office watching for a long time.  I'm pretty sure I saw them fall, but I don't remember if it was at home, or at school.  I've seen those images so many times repeated on TV that it's hard to remember what the "original" memory is. 

I didn't know anyone who was killed in the attacks.  My family and friends were all safely living their lives far away from the tragic events of that morning.

The pastor of the college church group I attended was part of a search and rescue team that was called from Missouri that morning.  He and his crew loaded up and were gone for 10 days, sleeping and eating where and when they could while dedicatedly searching for survivors at ground zero.  I don't remember the details of his testimony of that time, but I remember that some of the first hand details were horrific, and others gave a strong and clear message of the power of the love of God even in the midst of disaster and chaos.

That was an awful, confusing day.  From the ashes of the buildings and planes and lives destroyed, people have striven to overcome, to rise up and become something more, something better.  I don't long for the time immediately after the attacks when it seemed like the whole country pulled together and set aside stupid differences.  Unfortunately, tragedy does that to people, and we have to move on and address all the issues that still face us.  We still have to pay bills, do our jobs, and argue about the best way to run the country.  It sure would be nice, though, if people could remember just a little the unity and compassion that we felt at that time.  What could we accomplish if we really sought to work together, with a heart for the good of each?

Friday, September 09, 2011

laundry fail

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Clothes on laundry line while running sprinkler = not dry clothes.

That was us.  I put the laundry out, but forgot to bring it in until after dusk.  Meanwhile, Jude turned on the sprinkler, and didn't see the laundry because it was not very light in the back yard.


Thursday, September 08, 2011

30 weeks

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  30 weeks?!?

I can tell Cakes is taking up more space.  When I sit, I feel pressure at the top and bottom.  I'm burping lots more and I am not able to eat as much, since stomach space is being pushed aside for baby space.

"Regular" shirts don't  fit any more, by length. So, we've been doing a bit of maternity clothes shopping for daily wear shirts.  I really don't care to have my belly skin hanging out for others to see, or to have the edge of my maternity waistband showing.


With just over 2 months until guesstimated time of arrival,  I'm working on writing and checking off things on my to-do lists and starting the gathering of various supplies and preparations for baby Cakes.  I feel like I'm going to be spending a lot of money over the next few months.  Trying to offset some of that by maybe winning some of the things I need to buy in giveaways.  So far I have a small stash of new diapers.

I'm reading and reading through my labor and birth books. Gearing up for more frequent visits with my midwife now that we're in the third trimester (and back from vacation!)

I'm debating whether we should set up temporary bedroom/sleep space downstairs.  The last two times, our bedroom was already on the first floor (where the shower, kitchen, living room/TV and computers are) but now we are officially upstairs, where there is a bathroom, but no shower, just a tub. It would be much more convenient to not have to climb steps for the week or two after baby, but a hassle to move the bed downstairs.  Oh, choices...  I'll probably put it off until it's too late. 

And, here are the kids at 30 weeks:

Elizabeth found some pantyhose I had set aside for making wool dryer balls. Now they are arm and leg socks.

I have no idea.

This is his photo smile. "Cheese!"

The Dynamic Duo!

The Gymnasitc Duo?
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