Sunday, 30 March 2008

Photo Challenge 11: Friendship

Ok, I did it, maybe. The flickr group is set up here, but I set it as public, invitation only to post. Is that right? Should I do private? Or completely public? I don't know. I've never done flickr anything before (well, I did upload once for our local homeschool group a couple of photos......but I don't think they even showed up.....). Anyway, any suggestions would be welcome. I think you have to ask to be invited, then I approve and you can upload?

So, here's to the pool!

Friday, 28 March 2008

Oooh La Doula!

I totally forgot to write out our meeting with our Doula on Tuesday! (I DID SAY WE WERE BUSY!) Yes, Tuesday was the busiest day ever.

It went awesome. We outlined the details of where and when to meet, what things to try, etc. I am working on our birth plan right now and then I will send it to her. Sometimes I get so excited that everything is going so well, thankful for that blessing.

C. is really great. Lil'Bug was chaotic and grumpy from the afternoon, but C. handled it with grace. We even ended up talking about butter making and gardening (which reminds me, I will have to send her my butter making link.....).

So while working on the birth plan, I got a little anxious about our hospital visit. Will it be a battle to have our wishes respected? What about when it comes to baby care? I'm sure I don't want the baby to get the Hep B shot at the hospital (if at all) and I am starting to investigate the need for the Vit K shot as well. Neither my husband nor I have Hep B, and she'll be breastfeeding, so I don't really see the need for it as a tiny newborn. I do know personally a child who got very sick from Hep B so I know it is possible, but it was also a public exposure issue that our newborn won't have.

Thoughts of Today

Soon after the kids from our group started showing up, but they were the older kids. They tried to play with her but her mood had turned so dark that it was difficult to do and eventually they gave up, leaving her alone by a tree. That day was bleak.
Ah, that's just it. That is what has happened to me. Last summer I had a huge blow out with a close "friend", justified though it may have been on my part. The months following my mood has been so dark and bleak that anyone who has tried to be my friend ends up feeling drained and "leaves me by the tree".

So it really is more about me and what I am projecting. I need to get back to the place I was before last April, the happy, giving, spirited person who didn't find, search for, flaws in everything in order to back away from it. What I used to search for was what I could give people, what they needed, (often materializing something from my attic....) I don't live in a puddle, I live in an ocean of friends and opportunities. One *edited* "sea witch" should not keep me from swimming.

Also, I have come to realize that simply acknowledging the issues is not the same as releasing them. I am still kicking around some of my anger, especially on days like today. Lil'Bug is upstairs crying in her room off and on. In between she is playing happily. She's asked for some alone time, so I am just letting it unfold. I don't cry often, maybe I should, but I generally get angry instead and lash out. The heart of it is how sad I am sometimes. If I focus on that, I will lose out on some great friendships. Thank you all who emailed me and posted about the last post.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Basketball Belly

Funny. I always turn pictures of me Black and White. This is not my Photo Challenge entry, Dearest Husband took it at the park. :)


This is an issue we are dealing with here at Chez Podkayne lately.

For Lil'Bug it really started about two weeks ago at Park Day. Some kids were there (not from our group) and were playing pirate, her favourite! Unfortunately they yelled at her and threw sand, calling her a baby and a girl and telling her because of those two things she can't be a pirate.

Broke. Her. Heart.

Soon after the kids from our group started showing up, but they were the older kids. They tried to play with her but her mood had turned so dark that it was difficult to do and eventually they gave up, leaving her alone by a tree. That day was bleak.

Recently at playgroups I have noticed, as the kids get older maybe?, that the boys and the older kids seem less willing to play with her. Perhaps it is that she is less willing to play by their rules and wants to have input. I don't know. I do know that sometimes even when people come here to our home and play with her toys, she ends up being left out. This makes her cry, but also hit and kick and get mad which does not lead to kids wanting to play with her. THEN she is upset for days.

The girls that are her own age are few and far between. She does ok with them though if we are not at home, but she still prefers pirates over princesses and that seems to be a problem with that age group of girls.

This leads me to the other side of this. I know exactly how she feels. I don't fit in either. I don't try to, but there are certain things/rules I really didn't know until recently. I didn't know that it is polite to bring food to a playdate, a dish, a bread, a snack, some offering. I didn't realize how important the telephone still is to socializing with women. Big problem for me. Mostly, I don't know much of how to be a good friend. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I stick a big warty foot in my mouth.

It doesn't feel good to hear that many of the moms all get together and have girls night out, even though I couldn't go even if I wanted to. Why? Something else that separates me from them: I work. I stay home with my kid but I also teach college classes online. My "free time" is spent grading papers and communicating with students and filling out paperwork. I blog and read blogs when my grades are downloading. The rest of my time is spent with my family, tending house, or learning with Lil'Bug. My husband is attending classes online and working a lot to prepare for the time off he will take when June Bug arrives, so I take up the slack. But the not feeling good about it is not resentment for my life, it is feeling like I am being left out of that circle of friendship, something strong and good and rejuvenating, like the cool kids are sitting there with their back turned on the art geek. Been there, thought it sucked then too.

I actually had a friend recently tell me that she just doesn't click with me, when she thought she would. I like honesty, but ouch. That left me doubting myself, which was even worse. What about me was unlikable? (Plenty, is the answer. I am human and have personality flaws. I know this.) Still, pregnancy hormone fed emotions swelled up and left me bleak as well.

This is definitely an issue I will have to work out if I am going to help Lil'Bug. It was also an issue I thought I could ignore if we were moving to Ohio, but it looks like that won't happen for many years now, if ever. The important thing here is that Dearest Husband found out how I was feeling and boosted my self esteem. What a wonderful guy. :) He offered to rearrange things so I could have a night out, but that's not really what I want. I like spending time with my family. I don't need a night out.

Then there is this online wonderful circle of friends that I belong to. Perhaps that is why I come here daily now when before I simply checked email. I've actually avoided blogging about much this week because of how rotten I was feeling (also WAY busy!), but perhaps what I need to do is blog more and perhaps take up walking in the mornings or even with Lil'Bug in the afternoon.

(I sigh and lookout the window.....) is snowing. I thought that the thunderstorms this morning were rolling in with Spring, not bring one last dose of freaking Midwestern winter. Grrrrr.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Day at the Park

Dearest Husband got off from work early today so we took care of boat details: registration, life jacket and battery purchase, and pond scouting. There is still too much ice to actually take the boat out anywhere just yet, but visiting the pond at our favorite park is always fun.

Tuesday, There Was So Much to Do.....

Bradley class was canceled Monday night. Nothing to write about there, except that one of the 6 couples in our class had their baby Monday morning! Yay! They were due first, so while it was a little early, not unexpected. I am so happy for them.

We had a Dr. visit today in which Lil'Bug learned that our practitioner is not really a "doctor" and boy was she mad about it. We tried to explain why a Midwife is better for mama and new sister, but Lil'Bug wanted no part of it. She wanted a doctor.

The visit itself went really well. BP good, blood sugar good, no anemia, measuring right at 30 weeks (this means no fibroid growth as well as healthy baby), and good heart beat. We'll see them again in two weeks.

Then we rushed home to get ready for a baby shower. Not my own. Our pregnant homeschooling mom friend might have her baby early and after reading this post about how her family is "supporting" her a bunch of us decided to throw her a baby shower.....with one day's notice. It worked out fine. The kids were stressed out a bit, but that is to be expected I think. Lil'Bug did not handle the chaos well and there was a lot of crying and such on her part. BUT I think H. had a good time and that is what matters.

I've also been busy with my online job. Something went wonky over Spring break on one of my class sites and I am trying to figure it out. THEN firefox decided not to be compatible so for now I am grading out of Safari and I hate it. I'll get over it, it is just driving me up a wall right now and consuming more time than I'd like.

So then I also found out something that upset me. I post a lot of stuff we do here on the blog, but always after we have done it. On a local homeschool board, I often post events that we plan on attending, even issue invitations to others. That part of the forum is closed to the public and only available to local families BUT somehow people I do not want to have contact with, that have nothing to do with homeschooling, know about our activities and whereabouts. Yuck. I canceled my account with the group and since I usually plan the events I attend anyway, as most others plan things with age restrictions that exclude us anyway, I don't think it will impact us too much. If the yuckiness invades my blog, I can block their ISP (I think, I've heard others talk about doing that), but I can't do that on the other forums. Maybe I am being paranoid? I'm just not willing to risk it.

In Photo Challenge news, I am working on setting up a Flicker pool. I got so busy with things that I forgot to post this week's challenge. Well, it is now Thursday so I won't post it this week, BUT I will have everything up and ready by Saturday I hope! Thank you for the great idea Evie!

That's a lot of random stuff, but that's our week. Now, I must get back to work!

Tuesday, 25 March 2008


Child's Play posted this wonderful post today: Feeding the Elephant.

This got me thinking about sharing my own methodology. As many of you know I also teach online classes at our local community college. There are certain things I have to test my students on, but the way I manage these are up to me. So the test/quiz is required BUT they can correct it for full points at any time. Also, the quizzes are only 10% of the overall grade. When I taught face to face classes, I allowed the students freedom to take these quizzes at home, in class, or wherever they felt comfortable. Test anxiety is a huge issue in performance.

Did students cheat? Sure, I'm sure some did, but the majority did not. Most corrected what they got wrong and actively sought out to find out why. Each student was missing different skill sets coming into the classroom, and these quizzes assisted in identifying them on an individual basis. If they cheated, it showed in their other work, because the skill sets were never addressed.

So what about the other 90% of the grade? Portfolio AND at the end they evaluate their own progress using the portfolio as their proof. Yes, I evaluate it too, but the real learning comes from the students not from my grade entry. That is what keeps me teaching.

I also learn from them. They choose their own topics through the term and do the exercises with those. I've learned about farm equipment, video gaming, cloth diapering, cookie decorating, motor cross, rugby, etc......all from the students own interest. This too, keeps me teaching.

I can't imagine how it must be for teachers who have to teach to a test year after year. K-12 or college.

That is another thing I love about homeschooling the way we do- the freedom to learn and to love learning. I attempt each term to bring that to my classrooms, both online and in our world.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

The Boat

This is our new boat. I know, you can't really see it under its cover. More pictures with adventures to come this Spring! We have to get it registered before we can take it out on the water.

Picnic Time and Funny Faces

Easter Egg Hunt

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Finally, We've Started (and other random thoughts)

We got a storage unit and started packing into bins a few things, like baby (9 months+) clothes and table cloths and the Christmas ornaments we are keeping (anyone local want a really nice, real looking 8 ft fake tree?). We sold the death trap duct taped canoe and we are storing the new boat in the storage unit. Dearest joked today that the new one needs duct tape too. NOT FUNNY.

Already the house is feeling cleared out. I still have 15 cans of paint, but that is way better than what we started out with. I still have to hang some more curtains and pictures here and there. Dust really well. You know, the standard get your house ready to list with an agent stuff. Still, progress is progress.......

I have to decide if we should list the house for sale with an agent before June Bug is born or in July (post recovery from possible C-section). The decision is mine. I will decide once (if) the house is ready. So far, I am leaning towards May instead of July. Bah. We'll see.

We will begin garden planning soon. With the housing market the way it is, chances are we will be here through harvest season. We've decided to do plants instead of seed this year, for ease of planning in May/June.

We found a new pool. The one we go to on the East side is 12$ a person except on Thursdays when it is 2$ a person. Park day is only on Thursday. Lil'Bug wants to swim more often AND we need a park day. So the pool by Nana's house is 2$ a person, has weeknight and weekend swims. It's chlorine, but warm enough and they have a really nice staff. Did I mention it's 3 blocks from Nana's house? Great Grandma is going to love that when she visits!

That's it for today!

Friday, 21 March 2008

Weird Things About Me This Pregnancy

I crave Oreos. I don't eat them.

I crave broccoli. I eat that a lot. Mmmmmm. Sauteed in butter with lemon (or lime) juice and pepper until caramellized. Oh. So. Good.

I have taken to wearing my clothes inside out. Seams and tags are itchy. Tags can be yanked out, seams, not so much.

Toilet paper? If planning a pregnancy, the amount of paper products budgeted for should double or triple. Between congested nose and frequent potty trips.....oh so much more trees killed. I did start using a cloth handkerchief for my nose, BTW.

This baby kicks and squirms much more than I remember Lil'Bug doing. All the time. Sometimes it is painful. That's ok, since I can change positions to lessen the "discomfort".....

Advice: Check the Girl Scout Calendar and avoid all girl scouts while pregnant. Especially if prone to rapid weight gain or gestation diabetes. Samoas do not last in my proximity. Oh right, it's my tot, not me......

Gap jeans (my one pair) are awesome. I really need to have something else to wear so I can wash them sometimes.

Also, my huge pregnant belly is all anyone wants to discuss with me in person. That can get tedious. I am fine, I feel fine, I eat well, it is not twins or triplets I am just small torso-ed, and no my feet don't hurt if I want to sit down I will and my goodness are those Samoas I will be right back...........

**Edited to add**** When I was 7 months pregnant with Lil'Bug Dearest Husband bought a canoe. It is repaired with duct tape, yet he claims it will never sink by design, etc. This morning HE BOUGHT ANOTHER BOAT. It is too much coincidence to mention that it is almost to the day the same point in this pregnancy as last. This boat has lights and a motor and and and ......yes, fine. He bought another boat. At least this one has no need for duct tape.

First Thing in the Morning

Dearest Husband,

This morning the house was chilly. 42 degrees to be exact. Strangely enough the animals were quiet and did not jump on us to wake us up. We slowly shivered our way through our morning chores but decided to stay in pajamas to keep a bit warmer through breakfast. As we made our way downstairs, Lil'Bug screamed, "Oh no, my Star Kitty, my Moon Puppy! They are gone!"

Indeed, they had escaped (explaining their lack of enthusiastic wake up). Out the wide open, yet dead bolt engaged, front door. In my 7 months pregnant (yes, I am reminding you for dramatic effect) sock feet and pajamas, I run out the door frantically. I soon locate both cat and dog and see that tot is standing in the door contemplating the crazy fun of escaping to play with her animals. I only have two arms, one holding squirming cat and the other gripping the leash of a 50 pound dog.

I somehow manage to think it is all very funny. Lil'Bug says I am a super hero for saving the day. I turn on the heat to start warming the house and a pot of tea to start warming me.

Now, who or what could have caused the door to be locked and yet open? Ah, yes.

Please start making coffee in the morning again. I can't imagine your drive to work was safe.

Mama Podakayne

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

HAIL and Museum Day

We spent the morning catching up with an old friend at the Historical Museum, messing around (aka learning stuff) in the exhibits, then we attended the local Homeschool Alliance for Iowa Learners (HAIL) meeting. Not too great for attendance but it is a fledgling group that I hope will take off. The only current liaison group is an exclusive Christian one that IMO does not serve or represent all the Iowa homeschoolers. I think that maybe people don't realize right now how much the current pending bills (concerning HSAPS, legal reporting age, and curricula) will affect them in the long run so there is not an immediacy to react. We'll see. I think it is better to have someone representing our interests before the laws get written or changed than to try and force change later. My kid is 3. We don't have to report for another 4 years BUT I can conjecture what impact these laws will have on our options. I am concerned enough to try and do something now.

Anyway, then we went home and played outside. It was in the 50's, but Lil'Bug still wanted her coat. I foiled dinner again. I thought the meat was thawed and Dearest started up the grill- alas, it was frozen hard. So out to dinner (again) we went. I am sick of eating out. Lil'Bug could care less. Food is just a time that she has to stop talking for a bit..... well, sort of. She won the hearts of all who heard the story she told the waitress about how she was friends with her new sister in heaven, but she had a plan to come first to save mommy and be a big sister, but soon they'll be friends again and play. Oh, it was cute.

Tomorrow I am having a paint give away here at our home. I have 70+ containers of interior and 10+ exterior paint. Some are quarts, most are gallons. I would just buy paint over the years when there was a sale or I had an idea for a a room or two and then didn't follow through. We have to clear out the basement (and various corners of the house) and so I am giving it away. The upside is I get to meet a lot of online people from our local Yahoo list. :) Ah, but strangers coming means I have to kick butt cleaning up the place. Bah. I'll get done what I can.

On another front, baby and I are doing great. However, one of our local pregnant mom friends needs our prayers and good thoughts this week. There's not much I can do for her right now but hope for her (and baby) to have a good week.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Breastfeeding Review

Last night's Bradley class was all about breastfeeding and co-sleeping.


In case anyone didn't know already, we co-sleep. Not as much anymore now that Lil'Bug wanted her own room, but she still needs to be snuggled when she has nightmares. Co-sleeping is highly controversial in the US. Why? My gut reaction is Pottery Barn. Places like that try and sell you an ideal nursery with all the things you NEED, including an expensive slatted side bed ......the crib. You also need a glider and a changing table and and and.......cha ching. People are made to feel bad if they can't afford the best, safest, trendiest devices and furniture for their bundle of joy. Worried about your baby closed up in a crib in a room down the hall? Buy a baby monitor. Still worried? Buy a heartbeat sensor monitor. For heavens sake, don't just run down there and cuddle the baby, that has no corporate profit.

What we discovered we really needed? A baby. Sometimes a blanket. Love. None of which get safety recalls.

Any flat surface can be used to change a diaper. Any dresser will hold clothes. We used the crib once for a nap and Lil'Bug woke up terrified and alone. I don't like sleeping alone. Most people don't. Most humans spend their late youth and adulthood searching for someone to share their sleep with. Babies don't understand the world, why would we wrap them up and leave them isolated and alone for hours at a time? Don't get me wrong, I bought or was gifted every single baby thing on the market. New. Sometimes two. I had the decked out nursery and a second changing station downstairs for convenience.

This time I have registered for cloth diapers and some diaper station type things (like a pail and liner). That's it. I know the clothes will come rolling in as gifts, I also know that most of the other plastic devices don't fit in our lifestyle anymore.

And breastfeeding. I forget sometimes exactly how hard it was for us in the beginning. It was really hard. Everywhere we turned for support people would tell us, "You know, formula isn't poison." ???? What kind of response is that? My milk came in REALLY late (and corresponded with an ER visit for heavy post surgery bleeding) and Lil'Bug had a hard time latching and we were given just about every single plastic device known to the industry to get it to work. Most of those things got in the way of real progress. I felt like I was failing as a new mom, but I wouldn't give up. Even the pediatrician was doubtful of our progress, however, a resident Dr. gave us encouragement and reassured us at daily weigh ins that she was gaining and to keep at it. Another ray of hope was Dear Husband's Grandma who came to stay for the holidays and quietly encouraged me, told me stories about her brief experience with breastfeeding, her own lack of support and regrets.

And the biggest support- Dearest Husband. He was really set on our success because of his ear problems. Breastfed babies are less likely to get ear infections because of the mechanics of sucking and swallowing among other things. He suffered terrible infections as a child and has partial hearing loss because of it. He wanted no such thing for our beautiful baby girl and really kept me going with it. He made it easier for me at every turn. He even held warm wash cloths for me when I got sore and every other helpful thing possible. I cannot imagine going through what we did alone AND she's never had a single ear infection, thank God.

6 weeks later, we were finally comfortable with it. Then I had to go back to work. I pumped milk in my office while I worked at the computer and took phone calls. Sometimes I pumped in the car while driving to classes or to museum sites. If I wasn't actually breastfeeding, I was pumping. It was my life for 9 months. Milk milk milk. Totally worth it. At 9 months, I quit my full time job and went to part time, slowly decreasing face to face time from that point on. Sometimes the only time I really had to sit and connect with Lil'Bug was when I was breastfeeding her.

It took me a long while to get comfortable feeding her in public. I was even harassed by other moms (strangers no less). I breastfed Lil'Bug in bathroom stalls and isolated hallways, even out in the car. Eventually I got over it and just fed her discreetly when she was hungry.

My earliest day care provider really pushed formula on me. "For back up," she said. I brought her extra milk frozen instead.

I'm also not ashamed to say we breastfed until Lil'Bug was ready to wean. She was almost 3. Now when she plays Mommy to her baby dolls she pulls her shirt up to feed them Mommy Milk and that makes me smile and warm in my heart.

There are things we talked about in class that I had forgotten about. Milk sometimes smelled like the food I ate the night before. Sometimes it would take on tints of color of foods like broccoli and blueberries. I had forgotten how hard it was to sometimes find a place to pump milk on campus and when my job took me off-site. How hard it can be to travel where the laws regarding public breastfeeding are stricter than here in Iowa.

Mostly the things we talked about in class made me really long for the upcoming day when I will get to meet June Bug and hold her to my breast for the first time.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Yearly Tradition, Happy St. Pats

Yup. Every year, I find myself on this day.....putting away the last of the Christmas ornaments. At least this year it wasn't the tree too.

Remember my ambitious list of deep cleaning? Yeah, whatever. I've made slow progress, but not nearly where I wanted to be. I'm not going to beat myself up about it. Life happens. Progress is still progress. I will finish the race.

Here's the revisited list:
Here are the items on my list to tackle, dark blue is done (sort of):
  • Put away fake tree and better label ornament boxes. DONE!!!!
  • My office/craft room: need more baskets and hang some wall art (or baskets on the wall- neat idea I saw in Country Living, shhh.) Moved in, no baskets, total chaos anyway.
  • Lil'Bug's room: need room for all her new loot. Need to change out 2T to 3T clothes, pack and label the 2T crate. Hang her wall art. (Thinking about framing her art and hanging it....)
  • My bedroom: finish painting the trim, find (make?) better window treatments.
  • Paint hallway (fine, this has been on the to-do list since 2004.....)
  • Paint laundry room.
  • Paint hall, bathroom, and laundry room trim. Hang wall art.
  • .......(cue drums of doom) the north bedroom: right now a staging area for pre-packing and all other "stuff". Clean out, set up spare bed. Maybe paint the walls. Maybe. Hang wall art.
  • Then paint middle parlor. Oh yeah, find good colour for that room. Gah.
  • I have cleaned the car 3 times.
  • Clear out pile of construction stuff in dining room.
  • Shoe issue in foyer
So progress is still progress.


So for all my striving for gentleness and release I missed something. Today I was asked for advice by a dear blogger friend who faces similar dynamics in a delicate family situation. In attempting sage wisdom I realized something about myself:

I practice gentleness and compassion to my own child but not to others. I treat her with respect and understanding, but I often do not give the same consideration to other moms or their kids. I do for my online students, and most of the time for others, but not 100% of the time. So for all my talk, yeah, I need to recenter my thinking a bit. I grumped around a bit this morning when I realized this, but I think things will get better now. If I'm going to talk to the talk.......

;) Thanks Evie!

Right Now

Lil'Bug is watching Tarzan and imitating Tarzan imitating the jungle animal calls. She's also leaping off the couches and rolling around trying to get the moves right.

:) Oh, for more rainy days like this one!

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Photo Challenge 10- Self

I'm sorry I missed last week for the photo challenge. Oops. Totally fried and flu sick last weekend.

This week I have been challenged to take a decent belly photo. I had to learn how to use the timer on the camera, but I'm still working on it.

This doesn't have to be a self portrait though, just how do you view yourself? Through what? How? Where?

(Also, my brain is fried. Any suggestions for themes are welcomed!)

Yeah, What She Said

"Lil'Bug, why do you take so long to eat your food?" (She doesn't start eating until everyone else is finished and ready to clear the table......)

"Well, actually, my teeth are little. Your teeth are big," she looks at us like we should know this, being her parents and all.


This morning she went to the moon. And back. And then to the moon one more time. There are monsters there and she would be lonely if we didn't come too, so she shared her helmet (a Mr. Potato head container).


"Honey cookies" do not have any honey in them. They are classic peanut butter cookies. She helped make them last night and discovered the ingredients.....She doesn't care. "I will still call them honey cookies, mama." Yup. Fine.


Last night the baby kicked her while she was cuddling me. So she sang her lullaby to my belly. It was so sweet.

In the morning I heard a funny little voice saying, "Mama, mama, mama," not in distress but singing......while Lil'Bug is supposed to be I peeked in her room:
"Well, actually, I was peeping like a baby bird. Listen. The baby birds outside are upset because daddy went to work and they miss him and their mommy is getting breakfast ready. They are lonely. Mama, were you getting me breakfast?"

Friday, 14 March 2008

Cool Music

I was at a friends house last month and she had the neatest music mix playing. I asked her about it and she shrugged and said it's just the Internet. I pressed on, what station? I-tunes?

Nope. Pandora. The music genome project. You type in an artist you like and through a complex equation based on sound, genre, etc they match up other artists and songs that are similar and Poof! a radio stream that plays only music that you like! I have found so many new artists that I want to order BUT I also now have a nice background music for my day.

I have 5 different stations going right now for my varied tastes.

Oh, and it is FREE! You have to register after a trial period, but it is still free. My techie Dearest Husband approved the registration as not being a security harm. :)

So, I had to share this with you all. (Especially Heather K. who is looking for music to play in labor.)

Thursday, 13 March 2008


Oh thank goodness for park day, muddy joy and all!

The Promised, Though Blurry Belly Pic

Rocket Girl

The new exhibit at the Science Center opened this week. Yay!
To the moon! What a cool rocket.

This is the egg drop. She wrapped it carefully and sent it up. This summer we will do a real egg drop at the park. I can't wait!

This is the Daddy Robot. Lil'Bug calls it that because of the instruments it plays. Her Daddy can play them all at the same time just like this robot, she says.

At last, the bubbles. Of course she has to use ALL the wands at the same time. She was sopping wet by the end of the day. This meant we had to stay a bit longer so she could dry out a bit. Planned? Perhaps. You never can tell with tots.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Tough Day

Today our fence got graffitied. We've lived in this neighborhood 9 years and that's never happened, so it is frustrating. It is gone now, easily sanded away, but still.

Also, yesterday the place my husband works announced the lay offs of 80+ people. They are selling the building, moving people around, etc, but 80 or more people won't have jobs soon. Dear Husband has worked there 9 years and while his job is not being eliminated, it is certainly impacted. He is really shaken about the whole thing. Many of the people are his close friends.

I've seen a gritty side to job loss as a child and as an adult (educator) at our local community college while dealing with Maytag's closing in Newton. It is not pretty for anyone, not families, not those impacted, and not even those who still have their jobs for now. Sometimes people come out of it better off than they were before, but not often. Tonight and many nights after, these families and friends will be in our prayers.

It was 60 degrees today, so we spent most of it outside playing or inside with windows open airing out the house. What more to add? We simply enjoyed each other as a family today.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Glucose Screen

I scored a 128. That's good according to my midwife and this source has more information too.

I am relieved since GD runs in my family. So does obesity and diabetes in general and many of my female relatives developed these during or after pregnancy.

28 Weeks!

Even if my ticker there at the bottom doesn't quite say that, the midwife informed me I am now officially past the 28 week marker and doing great!

I took the glucose (lemon-lime is way better than orange BTW) test today, results back tomorrow. I start going every 2 weeks for well mama visits this month and even though I feel terrible in my head (snotty, sore, like my sinuses will explode before falling out of my head......) apparently I look great. I'm measuring 28 weeks too which means that the fibroid isn't growing (last pregnancy I measured 3 weeks more than I actually was, they say) and I don't need another ultrasound (so far). I gained a little much these last 4 weeks, but I was a little on the light side before so it all evens out.

Bradley classes last night were pretty uneventful, save some serious birth film watching. We saw a water birth in Mexico, a series of squatting position births, and a very un-graphic home video of our instructor's 1st birth. I didn't admit this in class, but I had never really watched a birth film before. I had seen them on tv (but usually changed the channel) and doodled through one in a jr. high health class I think, but not really watched them. Wow.

But it wasn't so much the films themselves that impacted me, but the visuals. I dreamt last night of our upcoming birth and for the first time I could visualize it and hold it in my head. I can see myself giving birth in a way that I was not able to do before. Before I was unsure, not confident at all, but now it feels like I can do it and I know that I can.

When I was pregnant with Lil'Bug I just took it for granted that I could labor and deliver, I never visualized it, and I certainly didn't educate myself about the whats and what could go wrongs. I hired a Doula and a Midwife and called my stats better than average. Yeah. I know. I'm sure I just took it for granted that everything would go well because I wanted it to. That sounds bratty, but it is true. When I had contractions I went to the hospital. This time, I want to labor at home, but there are things I know about labor now that I didn't before (even after experiencing it).

Another thought I had was more of a regret. 10 or so years ago a woman who's kid I watched invited me to the homebirth of her second child. I would be the support person for her 2 year old, etc. I said no. I said no way. I now understand what a wonderful gift I would have given the little girl and her family and what a sacred event they were inviting me to be a part of. I said no and never gave it a second thought. I remember being grossed out that she was essentially having a party at her house while nakedly birthing a baby. There were so many people coming (in my mind, more than 3 is a lot) and her extended family and neighbors were all going to be celebrating with her. Now, I regret not being a part of it AND now I can see what an amazing support system she had in place to welcome her growing family. We don't have that. We have a handful of family, most who live far away and all who will wait at home for the phone call. I didn't grow up here, so no long time friends that I know well enough to be naked around. We will still have the security measures in place at the hospital, so that will make having visitors after the birth difficult (though the alternative is WAY worse).

So in my reflection, I have realized that not only did I say no to L. and her family, I have said no to many opportunities for friendship that is more than a meet and greet. Oh, and L. is a midwife now!

It is also amazing to think how much we have grown as people and as a family in the last four years. Both Dearest Husband and I are more present in our own lives than we were before, more active in our health, and more in love than ever. What a blessing that is!

So forgive the rambling update. I have a couple posts brewing in the draft folder that are much more coherent.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Crappy Weekend

How long does this bug last exactly? Yup, still sick. And now grouchy because nothing got done.

Well, not nothing. I got caught up on grading and laundry is done (ish). Spring break is around the corner. Daylight savings sprung forward. Yada yada.

And so the week starts. It is a very, very busy week. Dr. appointments, homeschool legislation meeting, swimming (if we feel better), Sci Center opens a new exhibit, Lil'Bug has asked for a playdate with friends, and we begin to cook to freeze meals for May/June.

This week, we freeze 3 lasagnas and 2 servings of Beans and Ham Soup. Easy to make extra.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Purple Soap

We get our bath soap from Amy at the Foil Hat. I've been tempted to try Soapchix Seredipity or even our local Prairieland Herbs, but I really like Amy's soap and why mess with something good?

When we arrived home from our day outing there was a package on the porch.

Let me start out with this little known fact: Seriously. I have not gotten my tot to take a bath without a struggle for the past month. It has been a stinky time. Even if I get her in, she sometimes jumps out before I can get her hair washed. We maybe get her scrubbed down and actually clean every 3 days or so. That's pretty good I think.

Today, when we got home from our outing there was a box waiting for us on the porch. She said it must be for her and took it inside, opened it up, and sorted all the soap all out on the table. Too cute, but there's more.

She found the bar of purple grapefruit. She smelled it. She looked up at me delighted and exclaimed it was time for a bath. (Thank you Amy!)

As she got into the bath with 1/4* of the bar of precious purple soap, she declared that when bath time is over she needs to write a thank you note to the lady who made the purple soap. Seriously, could this be the same terror tot that tore apart my house in under 20 minutes and managed to find and roll in every mud puddle at every park even during the summer drought? She arranged it in her own soap dish and set her bath crayons next to it.

Also, my bathroom now smells heavenly. I love grapefruit, she loves purple. Tot emerged from the bathwater clean by her own volition and bath time lasted more than three minutes. I actually got some laundry done.

*I cut the full bar in 1/4 sections so it lasts through her dropping and losing it in the bath water. It is also easier for her to handle.

The bar at the faucet is the amazing kitchen soap made with hazelnut and coffee grounds. It gets the garlic and pepper oils off of our hand like (almost) nothing else ever has PLUS doesn't smell like a dead hippie. Oh, and it smells soooooo good.

Thank You For The Well Wishes

I am still sick, but at least now I am semi-functional.

Yesterday, I had a scary bout of dehydration which led to Braxton Hicks contractions. I was pretty calm about it since I knew it was dehydration. I tried to get fluids to stay down. I called my husband. He came immediately home from work with movies, soda, and then he tucked me into bed and spent the day with Lil'Bug. I slept, I woke and sipped Sierra Mist, I slept some more.

I am still sick today, still have bloody nose and sneeze attacks, a slight headache BUT now I can eat and walk around. I big belly is sore, but I expected that.

Lil'Bug was so very patient and good through this all. I decided today to take her out to the Science Center. We spent the whole day there, did all the project stations, ate lunch, played with friends, and then saw Spiderwick on the IMAX. I got more rest than I might have at home.

Dear Husband called and is taking us out to dinner so I don't have to cook or clean. Whoo hoo!

Oh, and we got a package in the mail when we got home. The contents get their own blog entry. :)

My New Bag

I am not a purse person. I hate carrying stuff in something removable- I prefer deep pants pockets. Sadly, this just will not work for the things I tote in my role of mother. Try as I might to fit an extra pair of shoes and outfit for Lil'Bug into my pants pockets.......and yes, she needs these wherever we go. No, not potty issues. Mud, water, slush issues. My kid has the park day nickname The Muddy Hippo because of a stunt she like to pull.

Then there is my camera. The bag the camera came with broke. I wasn't really happy with it anyway. It had no interior padding or support for the camera and no pockets for stuff and the only was to close it was a flap closed with two plastic buckles (the part that broke). Stuff would bounce out. So I bought a better bag. Three ways to secure the top closure, decent padding inside, water resistant (see note about tot above), and camo green. I care not for fashion and was not willing to wait another week for blue or black. Bah.

Also, no water bottle holders. Right. That sounds like a good idea: water bottle + expensive electronic stuff + me = not a good thing, even a little bit. No cell phone holder either, but that is why I have pants pockets!!!!

I am very happy with my new bag. It may not be couture, but neither am I. Most of the time I am worrying about stuff to get rid of, stuff to downsize, stuff that clutters. It's not often that I get to spoil myself with such a luxury purchase. :)

Wednesday, 5 March 2008


Migraine, bloody noise (oops, I mean nose), and can't keep anything down. Flu? I don't care, I just want it to go away.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Paper Tigers and Teacup Storms

Yesterday my husband made me feel really special. It wasn't in a single gesture or gift or touch, but in a glance. We made eye contact during class, and I smiled, he smiled back and immediately I felt the same wonder as the first time we kissed. That's it. So simple. :)

It happened last night during Bradley class. We practiced relaxing through pain and 1st stage labor positions. This exercise involves self inflicted ice cube torture (holding an ice cube in hand for 1 minute at a time). I thought it was awesome. Dearest cuddled me while I practiced relaxation and meditation.

Here's the thing: all week long I was worried about how I would do in a room full of people (not unlike labor in a hospital) so I practiced at home. Yes, from experience, I can wholeheartedly say that ice cube torture has nothing on the pain of contractions and nothing compares to the excruciating horror of being sliced open in the belly to have a baby extracted BUT I like having practice at meditation and relaxation. It is a skill I really need help with, labor or no.

This week I have also come to understand the image I focus on when meditating. Rural Eastern Colorado, mid summer, clear night. I used to camp out in my aunts back acres, just a sleeping bag and me (or siblings too). The air was cool and forest animals noisy, but the sky was swirled with the Milky Way and in that vastness, that solitude I felt free and safe. Perhaps I am still working through the turmoil of childhood abuse, but it was not constant as I had the safe haven of my aunt and uncle's farm and their love. What does this have to do with birth and labor? I read this week that abuse issues can hamper labor, complicate medical care. In fact, I do tense up severely with certain doctors and situations. So, that being my paper tiger, I am going to work this week on understanding that those people are not my former abusers, nor tools of my abusers, that they are there as my employees and caregivers to assist in my and my baby daughter's safe passage though labor. This time around we do not expect to need, but will still plan for additional hospital security measures. This time we will explain it early on to the head nurse so that we don't encounter problems like last time.

The second type of meditation I have been working on is total sensory awareness of the present moment. This is not relaxing inherently. Noises and textures bug me so I often retreat inside my own head to compensate for the exterior nuisances. During labor, Bradley method suggests being totally present and aware of all the physical sensations and sensory experience. This is what I have to work on. Being present, and not retreated to the depths of my imagination will help me cope with many aspects of everyday life, not just labor.

I think it is time to write our birth plan.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Better Butter- The Pictures

We made butter again today, this time with the stand mixer. First, the stand mixer was easier and less messy than the food processor. I manage to get almost three cups of liquid worked out of the butter this time, in contrast to last time's 3 table spoons. This makes a huge difference.

This time I also remembered to salt the cream. This had two bonuses: 1) Yum and 2) Lil'Bug didn't finger as much out of the bowl while "helping".

We started with a quart of cream. Just the cream, not the bananas or the pineapple. I just thought it made a nice still life. :)

Picture number two (on the right, above) is my choice of attachment for the mixer. I am very happy with it even though at the end the butter was all trapped in the cage because this actually helped work the liquid out by centrifugal force. Cool.

Whipped cream stage. Remember the salt? Ha ha. Fingers out of my bowl kid!

Trapped. This is a good thing.

YUM. It looks like ice cream, but it tastes like butter. I could squeeze and shape it with my hands into tubes, but I didn't see the point. This is only enough (about 3 cups) for the next 2 weeks. If I made more at a time, then I'd shape it for storage.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Photo Challenge 9- Joy

I know, not as simple. But when I captured this little joy on film (digital) I thought it might be fun for friends to catch some of their own. I was messing with settings and it ended up with the shot in B & W. I love it!


When the energies- child, balloon, and pregnancy in the family- collide this is what inevitably will happen, eh?

She walked around the Natural Living Expo telling anyone who would listen that she was having a baby too. Yes, I am just about that pregnant. I plan on posting belly pics this week. Her belly pic is way cuter than any of mine!

Egg Roll Recipe for the Wondering Christine

I got the original recipe from AllRecipe Best Egg Rolls Ever
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 (or more to taste) garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 quart peanut oil for frying (important oil- affects the taste)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage (we like red, but regular works too)
  • 2 ounces shredded carrots
  • 8 (7 inch square) egg roll wrappers
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
I also use curry sometimes. I love curry. I mash it in with the garlic and the pork. Go to the above link for the directions on assembly. The only difference is that I prepare the eggrolls ahead of frying and keep in the fridge until ready. I'm just not fast enough at assembly to roll and fry at the same time.

Also, I did not get these made last week. Life conspired. :)