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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: March 2010

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Mommy, why did he break our house?"

Just when it seems nothing too exciting is going on, something does. This past week the kids and I witnessed our landlord/next door neighbor hooking up a chain to one of the many trees on the hill behind our house. From experience, I knew this meant he would be hooking the other side of that chain to his Bobcat tractor and pulling the tree down. Like I said... I've seen it before. It all started when this happened. Then another came down only 8-10 feet from the kids room.

Sometime later, our landlord decided another tree should come down (deliberately), before it decided to fall in its own time. It was great fun as we all headed outdoors to watch him pull it down (in case it came toward our house again). And it came down great... no problems!

So when we saw him hooking up another tree one day last week, I knew how it would play out. At some point he would stop by and mention that he was going to pull a tree down and would feel better if we weren't in the house. We would get our shoes on, grab the stroller and head somewhere safe.

Well, that's exactly what happened... only his wife called instead. She wanted to make sure the kids weren't napping already or something. We gathered up shoes, stroller and camera and headed out to the "safe spot".

I snapped this just before he started pulling. You see the two trees on the left side of the pic? Take a look at the one on the right... about 1/3 of the way down the photo. You should be able (I hope) to see a chain around the tree, with the rest moving down from the tree at a diagonal. That's the tree.

This is 4 seconds later... literally. I checked the time stamp on my computer. I wish I had a pic of the roots... they broke right off at the ground. This tree was dead!

And this is 1 second beyond the other. Sadly, for time stamp's sake, I don't have the next picture of it laying on our deck! I'd love to know what the total time was... but it was 5 seconds from beginning to here. Unfortunately... once it crashed onto our deck, Tornado started crying hysterically. Loud noises are never good, and because I never expected the tree to fall so fast, I wasn't preparing him. I thought it would take several minutes still. I thought I'd take a few pictures... talk to the kids... take another picture or so... talk to the kids. Nope. 5 seconds... whole things was over.

Here is the view as we enter the back deck from the side of the house. Yes, that was our picnic table. All that "snow" you see is the shattered glass. The first thing our super-kind landlord said to me as I rounded the bend of our house was... "I owe you a new picnic table".

Other than feeling badly that he has so much work to do to fix the deck...

...really I find the whole thing pretty funny.

It helps that the solar panels didn't get hurt... that would have been very sad for My Beloved. But since they are ok... and no one was hurt. It's no biggie!

Still... hours later, Tornado was asking, "Mommy, why did he break our house?" No amount of explaining seemed to make the question go away. I think he was still so excited about it that asking the same question over and over and over again was the only way to keep talking about it.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

EC... Diaper Free Baby (Updated)

I mentioned Elimination Communication briefly before...

I gave it only passing interest when I first learned of it because, really, it didn't matter much to us. We weren't having anymore babies. Then, several months later, we learned that we are having another baby. Once things slowed down from Christmas, my energy started returning and morning sickness became just that (an occurrence happening in the mornings, and not all day long), I stumbled on Elimination Communication again... this time with more interest. This mommy detailed her journey in EC with each of her children. I still thought it sounded a little crazy, but I was also interested. And my interest was growing. A few weeks later, I looked into it some more. And again a few weeks later. Finally I requested The Diaper Free Baby by Christine Gross-Loh from our local library.

I have to say... I loved it! I already knew the underlying ideas behind Elimination Communication. I had pieced them together searching around the internet. Here, I want to give you some of the basics as I understand them (I have no personal experience of my own yet, so I'm not an expert by any stretch of the word... just sharing what I've learned from this book and other resources.)

So what is EC?
Elimination Communication (EC) is a method of communicating with your baby about a very simple process... elimination! The basic premise is that everybody poops and God has built in, from birth, a desire and ability to eliminate... without doing it all over ourselves! Author Christine Gross-Loh says, "Believe it or not, your child was not born wanting to go to the bathroom in a diaper. Like other mammals, human babies are born with the instinct not to soil themselves. It is not a natural or pleasant feeling for them to sit in their own waste; they are born aware of the sensation of going to the bathroom." (p. 1-2) (Updated: See comments for discussion on the whole "mammals" idea.) She tells us that even our newborn babies have the ability to give signals of going to the bathroom, before and during elimination. ECing is a process of learning those signals and teaching our babies what to do with them.

This process of EC isn't infant potty training. The goal is not to have a potty trained baby at 5 months, or 8 months or 12 months. The process of EC is exactly that... a process. I can remember a number of people commenting when I was potty training Tornado last year... that I was the one being trained, not him. That by taking him potty every 30 minutes to an hour I was the one being trained. It didn't bother me... we were using less diapers. And now that I think about it, I was making it possible for him to be cleaner... to not sit in his own waste.

It is very much the same thing with ECing your infant, at least in the beginning.

So how does it work?
It all starts with observing your baby. Whether you begin immediately after birth, or wait a couple weeks or months, the first step is to take off that diaper (other options are available too) and pay attention. Pay attention to when your baby potties, and when he poops. Is it right after feedings? During feedings? A half an hour later? Is it every 20 minutes in those early days, or can he hold it in almost an hour now? Pay attention!

Also pay attention to what your baby does right before and during elimination. Is there a concentrated look on his face? A noise she makes? Does she kick her feet around when she was otherwise being still? If he's playing, does he stop everything all of a sudden and get a far away look? The "cues" to look for are as diverse as the babies we have. There are a number of other suggestions of what to look for in the book!

When you do see baby "going", make a cue-ing noise for them. Recommended is a "psss, psss" noise for potty and little grunt noises for pooping, though you can use whatever you are comfortable with. This helps them learn to connect that noise with the elimination. That is supposed to come in handy later!

Then What?
Once you are ready to get started, just do it. The Diaper Free Baby recommends starting simple. Apparently most babies won't eliminate while asleep, so the easiest "catch" (EC speak for getting your baby's potty or poop in a receptacle on purpose) is when they first wake up. While you are changing that diaper anyway (if you are using diapers), hold baby over the toilet (other receptacles mentioned are the bathroom sink, bath tub, a pre-fold cloth diaper, or a "potty bowl"). By holding baby as they describe (numerous holds for different ages, etc.) and "cue-ing" him (with that "psss" noise), he should go if he has to.

Misses and being overwhelmed already
There are two things that I noticed most as I was reading the book. The first is that "misses" (EC speak for accidents) happen and there is nothing wrong with them. Sometimes "misses" happen because we are still learning or because baby is changing her pattern or because other parts of life pulled us away. They happen and we need to relax and take them as part of the learning process to communication with our babies. Clean up the "miss", talk about it with your baby, and get ready for the next time. (Note: "misses" from EC'd babies are supposed to be less of a pain than blow-outs from diapered babies... and I believe it!)

The other underlying message I read throughout the book was that any amount of EC still helps your baby. The point of EC, as she would put it, is to help your baby to keep the awareness of his elimination. The author stresses the fact that even part time (as little as an hour a day or a week) can be helpful. If life is too much, and all you can do is talk to your baby about his elimination while you change his diaper, you are still helping him.

I am greatly encouraged by this whole concept of any amount is good, and if fact, it is this whole idea that has me eager (and unafraid) to try this myself. I'm hoping to be able to EC this next baby from birth... to spend time diaper free (though over protected and absorbent blankets, etc.) observing and "pottying" my baby boy. And if nursing is a problem, or my other kids get sick and I just can't handle the extra right then... I can feel guiltless when I put a diaper on him to get us through. No matter what, the next morning when he wakes up, or the very next diaper change if I'm ready, we can try the potty again!

Overall, I highly recommend The Diaper Free Baby by Christine Gross-Loh! What do you think??? Interested?

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Sunday, March 28, 2010


Tornado's first head injury... after clean up

We've officially had our first "lac to the head" (as the ER front desk lady called it). And really, at 3 years old, I think that's pretty good! I would have expected to have more injury based trips to the hospital by this time. We are truly blessed.

Our church building was an old nursing home at one time... with the fire doors that swing closed automatically. The doors have those push bars that push down to open.

Ok... enter today. We were leaving church. Walking down the long hallway toward the entrance. Both kids were full of energy. I was having a harder time keeping them close (and not running through the church halls every which way) to me than other days. I decided to harness all that energy and focus it on leaving. "Do you want to run to the doors" I asked both kids as we started (understand... we'd been talking a bunch and there weren't many people left around). They took off down the hall.

One sweet lady (she and her husband are the greeters every week) started playing with Tornado when she saw him coming... blocking off the hallway. Just before he got to her, he veered right... right into the side edge of one of those door bars.

At first it just stunned him. I knew it would hurt though, so I was already on my way to comfort. Then I saw that it was bleeding. I always try to make it an adventure when there is an injury... especially with my boy. I want him to grow up tougher... and to think it's a cool battle scar in the end. Not to mention that I don't want him (my scardy boy anyway) to worry and be afraid of the injury. All this to say, I was making the blood out to be so cool. "You're bleeding!" I said with my most fun voice possible. (It helps that I really wasn't worried... head wounds bleed a lot more than anything else. It always looks worse than it is.)

It didn't bleed long at all... but it looked like a pretty good gash. Maybe a half in long, but gaped open some. Because of that we decided to take him to ER. If he didn't need stitches, I didn't want to be the one to make the call. Plus, I knew they would know better than I how to clean it and bandage it.

Long story short... he did a great job. There was really no wait (they took us right in because there was no one before us). He was a brave boy. It hurt, but he just laid there perfectly still (like he was afraid to move, but he said he wasn't afraid... just laying still) while she cleaned it out and squeezed the glue (durmabond) in and pinched it together.

And after it all, we had a 2:30 lunch at Panera Bread and returned home for the last half hour of nap time!

The end.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Departure is one week from today (ok, tomorrow, but grandparents arrive a week from today). I wish I could say that I have completed more from my list at this point (I'm updating as I have it done), but it just doesn't seem to be true. Still, I have done some of them. One of those is to make laundry detergent. I knew I wanted to make some before we left because we were close to the end and I wanted to make sure there was some available if Grandma needed to do any laundry (with night time leaks and accidents, laundry is a normal thing around here... even if we have plenty of clothes and underwear!) What I didn't expect at the time is to run out before then. I did the last possible load of laundry last night... and still had some to do. This isn't even considering that there is still a week before we leave and there will be plenty of laundry created in that time. Alas, "make laundry detergent" moved to the top of my priority list!

And since we (read: I) did it today, I thought I'd share the recipe with you all!

I don't know where I originally found the recipe online, but after I'd been using it a while (double batch = nearly 70 loads) I needed to make more and didn't know where the recipe was online. So I searched. I searched the ingredients I knew were in it and found Modern Cottage and her recipe for detergent! As of today it's written out and taped onto the side of the jar! :) Now anyone can make it for me if we run out and I'm down for the count (or in the first days/weeks postpartum... it's the same thing right?) Mostly though, it's so that I don't have to look up the recipe online by searching the ingredients every time I need it. That was getting old!

Today I made a single recipe, which about half fills our 2 quart jar. Sometimes I make a double batch to completely fill the jar, but then the measuring spoon doesn't fit inside, so I don't do that so often anymore.

Laundry Detergent
1 bar fels naptha soap, grated
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1/4 cup oxi-clean

Everything is pretty straight forward. Just measure and combine the powder ingredients. I have found that to get the fels naptha soap fine enough to mix in is a two step process. First I grate it with our Family Grain Mill's fine grater attachment. When that is done, I pour it into our food processor. I do recommend the two step process over just doing it in the food processor. When we did it the first time, putting chunks of soap bar in the food processor, it mostly just melted and mushed the soap and made a mess. With the already grated soap, it just makes it finer. A much nicer product!!

That's it... mix it up. Sometimes I use a spoon in a bowl first, but I don't think you need to. Usually I just put it all in the jar and shake it together really good. It doesn't seem to matter if it doesn't look evenly distributed. We've been using this for a year or more and it seems to do well on all sorts of laundry!

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Healthcare and the Believer

With all the different news over the last months about the health care bill (and all the many changes that have come with it), it's hard to follow. Hard to know exactly what it's going to do... what it means... and what we can do about it. And it's harder for some to understand that others. My husband probably has a pretty good handle on what is going on, but I rarely feel like I do. I just know it's not good. Not good for our nation. Not good for the American people. Not good for believers. Just not good.

I read a newsletter article this evening that laid out the basics of what is happening here in a nice clear way... even I could understand:
A key difference between Christianity and humanism is our soteriology (our view of salvation). Christians believe that man's basic problem is sin. Humanists believe man's basic problem is his environment. Consequently, humanist advocate salvation through legislation. The idea is that the State can save man through education, wealth redistribution, or other environmental changes. This view of the messianic state -- the state as savior-- is at the heart of President Obama's socialized medicine initiative.

Christians, not the federal or state government, are to care for their own, including widows and the fatherless (James 1:27). Doug Phillips, President of Vision Forum Ministries

Read the rest of A Biblical Alternative to Socialized Healthcare.

This may be the option many of us are looking for now!

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Diapering Options

Diapers! They are synonymous with babyhood. Synonymous with parenthood.

For some, there is a decision that needs to be made before baby comes... will we use cloth or disposable. For others it's a no-brainer... "of course we'll use cloth." For still others, disposable is all there is... no one uses cloth anymore, right?

When we were expecting our first, I was excitedly planning to use cloth. I had a big bag of hand me down cloth diapers from a friend (cleaned of course). I read tons about how to do it, how to clean them, etc. I still wasn't completely sure, but I went for it.

When we brought Tornado home, we used the newborn diapers we had part time, but put him in cloth the rest of the time. It was gross, but I did it. I was saving us money and I was excited about that. I didn't have anyone to teach me or to watch first hand, so I really never felt comfortable with how things were going, but I did it anyway. I hated dealing with the poopy ones, but I did that too. We used the disposables when we went out.

After a while, things were just too hard. It had been several months, life was busy, Tornado wasn't gaining weight. I had to switch to pumping all breast milk and adding cereal to it through a bottle to increase calories. He was spitting everything up and we hoped this would help. This new system meant that I was almost constantly pumping, cleaning pumping supplies, prepping bottles, bottle feeding, or washing bottles. And when it was done, it all started again. On top of it all was diapering and laundry. When my grandmother offered to pay for disposables, we decided to take her up on her offer and we never went back, even when she stopped sending money almost a year later.

When Sweet Pea was born, we didn't even think about it... with my schedule and a 15 month old, disposable was the only option in our minds!

Now here we are. Tornado, 3 and a quarter, began waking up dry this week. He's been in underwear overnight 5 nights in a row. There are accidents, but overall, I'd say he's night time trained! Finally! Sweet Pea, 2 this month, has been day time trained for more than a month now. Again, there are accidents, and more than half the time she poops in her underwear instead of the toilet, but out of diapers during the day just the same. That means that we are down to 1 diaper a day... disposable. In all honesty, the convenience of that one disposable diaper a day is pretty nice... especially since there is usually poop in it in the morning.

Our big goal was to have Tornado night time trained and Sweet Pea day time trained before the baby came. I'd say we're there already. We set the goal for both monetary reasons and convenience reasons. It will be so nice not to have multiple littles in diapers!

So what are we going to do this time??? I'll tell you, cloth doesn't look quite so bad these days with all the wet and poopy panties I've been dealing with lately. What's the difference really? Somehow it doesn't seem quite so gross. And on this side of experience, I wonder if it would be easier.

There is one other option that I had never heard about before this past Fall. About 6 months ago I stumbled on something called Elimination Communication. I was reading an article about it which led to a blog which shared first hand experiences. I found it very interesting... and maybe a little crazy. None of it mattered much though since we weren't planning to have anymore babies in this house. So that was it.

To be continued...

Have you heard of Elimination Communication???

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Half Way

I'm a bit over half way through this pregnancy and it's crazy to think of how much I really still have left. In some ways this last 15 weeks has moved by very quickly (since I didn't know I was expecting until around 5 weeks, I'm not counting that time). But in other ways, it seems to have moved very slowly. It seems like I've been pregnant forever... not in a bad way, but forever just the same. When I think about how long the last 15 weeks really feel, I can only image what the next 20 are going to be like.

I'm really not spending much time thinking about it though, despite what it may sound like here. I don't have time to think on such things, even if I wanted to. It's amazing how different the third baby is... at least the pregnancy part. Instead of having only myself to take care of (as in my first pregnancy), or having only a baby (as in my second), I have 2... and not babies either. I have a full fledged preschooler and a full fledged toddler running around. That means more dishes, more meal prep, more laundry, more reading, more character training... more everything! I love it all too (ok, not every minute every day, but the overall). It makes the days move along. It's kind of nice not concentrating on every minute of pregnancy. Even though I said it feels like I've been pregnant forever, I am grateful that all the busyness kept me from being able to dwell on the nausea and other ailments for very long.

And I'm making time for all the planning and prepping that needs to be done. Last week I sorted through all the old baby clothes (the small bin that remains). Knowing we are having a boy made it possible to do a thorough sort of all the baby girl things I just couldn't part with before. And having a friend who is expecting a little girl this month made it easier to let some of it go. As I moved those precious little girl things to the "out" pile, I was able to organize and see what we had for a little boy. It helped build my excitement as I remembered those baby boy things I just couldn't part with... ones that I'll be able to use again this time around. Many of which were my favorite.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Before Departure

Funky bread loaves made today for the freezer

We leave for the Caribbean in 15 days! That's right... only 15. That means I have two weeks to take care of all the little (and big) things that need to be done before we go. Here is a list I've started... it's all the things I have to do before we leave. Some are for us and some are for Grandma and Grandpa who will be here with the kids.

Prep for Leaving Kids Behind
Make Laundry Detergent
Write up schedule/activities list (This is started)
5 loaves of bread in freezer (3 down)
2-3 meals in freezer Actually, it's more like 4-5!
Menu Possibilities list
Prep "school"ish activities (if time)

Prep for Departure
Buy sun block
Buy hat for me (thrift store?)
Buy shoes for on board activities (flip flops/sandals)
Buy few more casual maternity shirts
Practice Pack (to see how many bags we need)

I'm certain there is more... I'll add to it as we go along and try to keep it up to date.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Toy Organization

We've been dreaming of some better way to organize the toys than this! I was originally looking for more of those green baskets to add for holding things, but it seems Walmart (as well as other places for that matter) doesn't carry them anymore. Turns out that I've now seen them in a couple places, but not in colors that match our decor... so it really doesn't matter anyway.

Anyway... On the very top of this shelf are things I don't want the kids getting to. There are client orders all packaged up on the right (note: if the clients would have come to get them before Christmas they wouldn't be there... still), batteries I'm working on charging for a shoot (Sweet Pea likes to find them and stick them ALL the way in her mouth if I leave them down too low), a left over jar from baby shower prep (really there is no reason for it to be there still), a homemade by grandma wooden toy that is broken again and waiting for repair (sorry Mom), and of coarse the iron (and all I can say about the iron is that My Beloved waited all week for me to finally get around to ironing work pants for him... I couldn't put the iron away until I'd finally done it.)

The next shelf has the books I don't want the kids to read on their own. Library books are on the left and special and heavy books are on the right.

Next shelf has books they can read whenever... and it's actually organized pretty well in this picture. Every day or so I try to straighten them up... it doesn't last long since Sweet Pea doesn't yet know how to get them in their vertically (and I'm not sure Tornado really does either).

The bottom two shelves are miscellaneous toys in various containers. Basically, these shelves made me crazy on a constant basis.

For months we've been trying to decide how we wanted to re-arrange the toys. These shelves sit in our living room (which is really part of the big open space that is our living room, entryway, kitchen and dining room all put together.) I see them all the time... they needed a change.

After looking at all sorts of options, I knew those cute cube shelves were what I wanted, but I didn't really want to spend that much on shelves and little cube basket things. I looked for some second hand for a while. I'd give up and then start over again regularly. Then after some money came in for Sweet Pea's birthday a couple weeks ago, we decided exactly what we would do with it. Instead of toys for her birthday (seriously... what did she need?), she got toy organization...

I was tempted to feel bad about it, but the kids are still (a week and a half later) pretty excited about them. Tornado still calls them the new shelves. The green basket on the bottom right wasn't supposed to be there. I suppose a helpful kid stuck it in. I didn't notice it until My Beloved pointed it out in the picture.

A little tour...

On top are those special and library books I don't want them to have on their own. They can reach them, but know they can't have them without asking and reading them with us. The boxes acting as book ends are nesting and wooden blocks (respectively). At present they have been removed for playing purposes and the books are laying in a stack... but some day there will be nice book ends holding them up all pretty!

The kid book shelves are obvious... it is much easier for them to keep them straight with the smaller spaces! :) The green basket in between is a large soft doll my mother in law made Sweet Pea for Christmas and all her little clothes (you saw them in the pic above wedged in a cardboard box that was too small, but the real residence of them prior to that was piled on the floor to the right of the shelves... this is nicer!)

The yellow baskets hold the felt food and play dishes/tea set (with room to grow) in one and their duplo blocks in the other. The middle shelf is still under construction as I'm not sure what to do with random little toys.

On the bottom, the green basket has the Thomas trains and track (pretty full) and room for the dump truck and other misc items on the other two shelves.

So there you have it... a very long, drawn out tour of something that you never wanted to know. I have to share it with you though because I'm excited... I really like the new toy storage solution... and hopefully another basket or two can easily be fit into our lives when it's time to bring little baby toys out. :)

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ultrasound and Allergy Testing

Today was a big day. The ultrasound was for me, the allergy testing was for Tornado. Sadly, I didn't think to get a pic of Tornado's back with my camera phone (I always forget it has that feature), so it is forever lost, except in my memory.

The verdict? He's indeed allergic! Allergic to dogs, cats, rabbits, and dust mites (ewww). Allergic to 2 varieties of tree pollen... thus our strong spring time allergies. Allergic to grass a little... that's why his nose didn't stop running when spring ended last year. The grass is apparently an early summer problem. And allergic to 4 kinds of mold... 2 of which are more severe allergies. Oh, and it's official... ALLERGIC to peanuts!

Wooo. We knew he was allergic... I'm not sure we were actually surprised there was so much... but it's good to know. We'll be making some changes to help reduce his allergic reactions, and hopefully as a result, temper his asthma a little bit.

Oh, the other little thing. The ultrasound.

It went well... though the little guy wouldn't roll over so the nice lady could get a pic of the kidneys and spine. But everything else went smoothly. And did you catch that??? Little GUY? Yep, a little boy is coming our way this summer.

I'm curious... how many of you picked up on the blue text?

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Romantic Vacation for Two

In less than 3 weeks, My Beloved and I will be departing on our first (ever) solo vacation without our children. It's officially our 5th anniversary trip... even though our anniversary was back in January.

Now, I have mixed feelings about this whole leaving the kids behind thing, but I'm doing it anyway. Here are a few of the reasons:

  1. We earned enough points on our Royal Caribbean credit card for a 7 night cruise. Hard to pass up!
  2. My Beloved benefits from time alone together (as do I if we're going to be honest) and extended "no kid" time is a dream of his. With this "surprise" third baby on its way, this is the last opportunity for a while to come.
  3. My in-laws are able to come from Michigan to stay with the children for the week! What a blessing!
This won't be the first time away from our kids. We were away shooting a wedding in NY this past summer and left the kids overnight... and again in November we were in VA shooting a wedding and were gone two nights. They do very well with others... and grandma and grandpa will be even better. I'm certain they will have a lot of fun and, if history repeats itself, won't miss us too much.

I do worry a little bit about Sweet Pea. She was very ready for Mommy to be home after our time away in November... and at her age she's changing so much each day. I just don't know what to expect. I am hoping that being at home, in her own element, following a somewhat normal schedule will be a big help. Sleeping in her own bed. Eating normal food in her own chair. Playing with her own things. Pottying on her own potty. You get the idea.

We're making some plans to be "present" for them as possible while away though. Here are a few things we have planned...
  • I'm hoping to record the song I sing them each night so that they can still hear it at bedtime.
  • We're paying for the 1 hour internet package on the ship so that we can be in email contact with My Beloved's parents and to send home pictures and little video clips of us and our trip.
  • We're also planning to use skype with that 1 hour of internet so that we can "video conference" with the children a couple times.
I'll also be leaving detailed schedules and "activities to do" lists with grandma and grandpa... not so that they will follow them to the letter, but so that they are never left wondering what to do next. I'll try to share that with you when it's done... it can take a while to put together. I'm hoping I still have a draft of the one I made last summer!! And if it could be warm and sunny while we're gone, that would help too! Rain makes it hard to visit the park or go for walks each day as exciting time fillers!

There are still so many details to work out and prepare for before our departure... and so little time! Things like pre-making and freezing enough bread for them for the week, finding and purchasing summer maternity clothes for the cruise (thankfully I'll be able to use those all summer too!), finding a modest swimsuit for snorkeling and swimming and such, making that schedule for the kids, meal plan and make ahead recipes for our time away, packing, planning the trip, and so on and so on!

I'm actually thankful for so much to keep my mind busy before we go... it's when I slow a bit and think about it that I get sad about leaving my babies. I warned My Beloved last night that come departure time, I'll probably need a little extra TLC over missing my babies!! I can barely go out for dinner without wishing they were with us at least once!

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Purple Punch for your next Purple Themed Party

Back before I disappeared again, I told you I'd give some more specifics about this "purple punch" I made for the purple themed baby shower! So... amazing enough, here I am delivering on a blog promise!

I decided early on that there were certain details that just had to come together... one of them was having purple punch. I just kept running into problems with it though. For starters, of the two main "purple punch" recipes I found online, I wasn't completely happy with either of them. In fact, I was afraid of both of them! One called for grape soda and pineapple sherbet, while another called for grape juice concentrate and sprite. Problem number 1: I really wanted to use raspberry sherbet since it's more of a purple, but didn't know how the two flavors would blend. Problem number 2: I usually find grape juice to be too strong and was afraid it would be for the guests. Problem number 3: My Beloved don't really drink this sort of thing, so a test run was going to be a huge waste, whether it tasted good or not.

When it was finally time do to the food shopping for the shower, I took one more look at the recipes I did find online and headed off to the store. Once we were there, I improvised. I started with Walmart's brand of Sprite-like soda the week before while we were there, but now it was time for the flavors. I put my foot down and decided to go with the raspberry sherbet... regardless of whether it would work. I made a decision that day that carried me through the rest of my party plans... form before function! I had to laugh, but I figured as long as it looked good, the rest could just be fudged over. It's not my usual motto for life, but it worked for me this time! We then headed over to the frozen section for some juice concentrate. I figured white grape juice was a safe no-brainer and was then excited to find a "wild berry flavored punch" as well. Since the packaging included shades of purple, I came to the conclusion that it must be a purplish drink. We'll truely never know... at least not until I open it someday.

Huh?? Well, if you read my first post on this shower, you learned that I left ALL the frozen ingredients at home and sent My Beloved out to the store to pick them up again. Going to a different store than we had originally been at, he did his best with what they had and returned with different, not so purple, ingredients. I now had to work with a white grape juice (this was the same as before), and two cans of fruit punch (really more of a red), and raspberry sherbet (pink, not purplish). None of this was blamed on My Beloved... he took both of our children to run this errand and pick up several things and really came back with the best he could find.

So what did we do? This was not going to be a purple punch in any stretch of the imagination. So far we were working with a great punch for Valentine's Day, but not a purple themed party! I was so thankful when God provided our purple "splash" of color in no time at all. It just so happened that the new mommy (guest of honor who lives in an apartment below the home we were hosting the shower in) had a can of, none other than, grape juice concentrate in her pantry. The end result was very yum!! And you really couldn't tell the sherbet was pink once it was in the punch!

Purple Punch Recipe
discovered by Babychaser with a lot of help from above

1 can white grape juice concentrate
1 can purple grape juice concentrate
1 can fruit punch concentrate
2 bottles (2 liters each) Sprite-like soda (store brand is fine)
Raspberry sherbet (we didn't even use a whole quart)

Everyone said they really enjoyed it. My Beloved and I completely agreed! Enjoy at your next purple themed party or activity!

Note: Keep in mind that this punch will probably stain if spilled onto light (or any) colored carpet or clothing! Thankfully, I didn't think of this before we got there and made it up, so it was too late for second thoughts. Also thankfully, the homeowner where the party took place went with it. And thankfully again, no one spilled and I am not feeling bad about her beige carpet in their new home being permanently destroyed! Praise the Lord!

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Friday, March 12, 2010

19 Weeks Along, Part 2

Pic from my first pregnancy

(Continued from Thursday's Post)

The past couple months have moved by relatively quickly. Morning sickness reserved itself for mornings (other than the night My Beloved caught and showed me a mouse from our vents... yuck!) Kids have kept me busy. I'm trying to get into some kind of routine. Many days I fail at something, but other's I feel quite successful!

The one thing I can remember feeling more than any other is fat. That's right... fat! I'm not sure the exact reason, but I was having a tough time feeling like my current size was pregnancy related. I know I'm pregnant... yes, I know. However, because I have no actual memory for the details and timeline of my previous pregnancies, I didn't feel like I should be getting very big yet. I knew some of my "baby bump" must be due to pregnancy, but overall, I just wanted to hide it, feeling that I was just letting my overweight midsection make me look prematurely pregnant.

Some of you are probably laughing at me in this, and others know exactly how I felt! This was not helpful in being excited about being pregnant. I can remember, with each of my pregnancies with my children, being excited about my growing size. It was part of it... a rite of passage if you will. The really funny thing about it all is that I began my first pregnancy 30ish pounds heavier than I did this one... and I was thrilled with my growing belly then. The fact is that I was less overweight this time than either time previously! None of it made any sense to me... but that didn't change my struggle.

It was a couple weeks ago when I finally couldn't stand it any longer. I looked all over my computer for pictures of myself at 16-17 weeks pregnant. I wanted to see what I looked like. I wanted to compare. I wanted to feel better about it and to be excited about my large middle. Maybe I should have measured back in December so that I would have a comparison and be able to prove it wasn't in my head! No pictures exist!

My next step was to turn to the internet and I was so pleased to find my relief from a much loved and trusted blogger. Stephanie, bless her little heart, posted her 16 week progress during her third pregnancy this past year. Will she ever know how much help she was to me in that little post? This part was especially encouraging:
"For bottoms, I've been wearing the small selection of "larger" pants that I keep set aside for the early months and also for after baby comes, although just this week I am finding that these aren't cutting it anymore either (even with elastic bands), so I've just pulled out all of my true maternity pants. Sigh... :) Guess that's how it goes with baby #3!"

And so, with that, though I may have been a bit overweight before pregnancy even started, this post encouraged me that indeed, (at least with a third pregnancy) I am growing as I should be.

I am glad to say that the past couple weeks have been a joy. I've felt much more comfortable wearing the few things that actually make me look pregnant (winter clothes have a way of hiding it). My sweet husband even took me to pick out a few "springy" maternity items.

Now here I am, 19 weeks along, only sick a few times a week (in the mornings), building a new routine, getting things done around the house, spending time with my littles, and rejoicing over this new life within me (even feeling the early flutters). Just for the record... some pregnancy "down sides" include pain in my lower (and I mean very low) back, and hip pain after being up and around a lot. Normal I know... and a friend showed me some stretches that may help. Now I just need to do them.

Next week I'll officially be half way! And with it comes the BIG ultrasound on Tuesday! Hopefully we'll be able to find out everything we want to know. :)


Thursday, March 11, 2010

19 Weeks Along, Part 1

Pic from my first pregnancy

Wow! I can't believe I'm already (or should I say finally) 19 weeks along. Since I haven't really even mentioned my pregnancy since I shared the news, I was thinking I'd share some about the first half (almost) of my forth pregnancy (though it's the third time this far in).

In light of our loss in October, this pregnancy took me by surprise... big time. Not only were we planning not to have any more children, the doctor's told me that I needed to wait at least 3 months before even trying. I remember thinking in my head that it certainly wasn't going to be a problem. Funny how things work sometimes, isn't it?

Because I was sure I wasn't pregnant, I ignored some of the little signs for a few more days than I probably would have otherwise. Sure enough, 5 weeks in, we were expecting again. My emotions were mixed. It was surreal. I didn't know what I felt. Guilt for "letting" this happen again (it is me who wants more children after all)? Fear that we would lose this baby too? Doubt that it was all happening in the first place? Excitement... which usually triggered more guilt?

Within the week, I didn't have the energy to think much about the new baby. New guilt took over. Already this pregnancy was getting in the way of taking care of my family and home... already it was interfering with normal life for my sweet husband. I didn't have any energy. I felt lazy. I was tired. Because I was unprepared for this, I had nothing in my freezer and not enough energy to put toward pre-planning to make things smoother. Deep down I knew some ideas (which I hope to implement before getting too much further into this pregnancy), but bringing them to the surface while trying to survive was another story.

A few more days brought the morning sickness... which I believe I've mentioned was not restricted to the mornings. December was rough. I was thankful when my mom arrived for her two week Christmas break in our home. She kept the house running and even caught me up on several things (bathroom floor for one).

By the end of the first week of January I was feeling much better. Much of my energy had returned and the sickness was confined to mornings and late nights, with only occasional reappearances due to hunger or thirst mid-day. I was grateful! I now had time and energy to set my mind again on how I felt about having a baby... not that knowing how I felt was going to change anything. To tell you the truth, though I was excited and looking forward to it, I was mostly still in disbelief (and continued in that until somewhat recently). Though I most certainly "FELT" pregnant, I didn't really feel pregnant at all. My first prenatal appointment came and with it, my first ultrasound. There was indeed a little baby growing inside me! More excitement!

To be continued...


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Back Again


I in no way intended to be gone for so long... let alone at all, but apparently I needed some time away.

My time away from blogging has left me with a good amount of things to share with you, so I hope to be a more regular participant in this blog in the coming days! :) I won't tell you what I have planned, since that usually means it won't happen. But I hope you will be entertained or blessed or something by it all.

An exciting tid bit from today...

I have a new stroller! And by "new" I do mean new! I was talking with my mom one day last week about the stroller I was looking for on Craig's list and by that afternoon she informed me that an early Mother's Day gift was on it's way! Wow... what an unexpected treat! Now I can walk for exercise again, and just while we are having some pre-spring weather. I haven't been able to do that in a long time (since our last stroller died more than a year ago). Ugh... I'm out of shape!