Thursday, July 31, 2008

You Might Be a Red Neck if...

You walk down to your creek and find not one, but two, cars rusting in the overgrowth.

The inspection was today and went pretty well. There are a few things we have to follow up on, but he didn't find anything that would preclude the sale (not even the cars).

Belly Button

Second Daughter can no longer sing this song truthfully.

Requisite Illini Picture

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Priceless Gifts

A very dear friend of mine made this baby blanket for Second Daughter. I absolutely love it! (I promise; I really will get around to all those thank you notes I owe.)

Swinging Girl

This is the swing that was our lifesaver. First Son hated everything except being carried - no crib, no stroller, no car seat, no bouncy seat, nothing, just being held. Then, we took him to California when he was two months old. Kansas Dad's aunt suggested a baby swing. First Son not only calmed down, he fell asleep! We were astounded - and sold. We ordered a swing online that night and even paid for shipping so it would arrive the day we arrived home. First Son would usually nap in the swing and slept in it for a few hours before we all went to bed. We all loved it.

Second Daughter doesn't spend that much time in the swing. As you might guess from the picture, First Daughter is often hovering, "helping" with little pushes and playing with the fishes herself. She does seem to like it, though, at least for short bursts of time.

I should add a do not attempt warning for first time parents. Technically, Second Daughter should be buckled in. The manufacturer would insist on it now...I'm inclined to worry about it more when she can really move around a bit. Of course, I might worry more if we actually left her in the swing very often, but it's usually just long enough to wash hands or something.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Spoons and Siblings

First Son's name is a little bit difficult to say. First Daughter can say her name and Second Daughter's name very clearly but if she has even attempted First Son's name, it's been so far off we haven't discerned it. Today, though, she called him "my bruda" and has repeated it many times. So it seems First Son will be Brother until she gets that name right.

First Son's Carrot

We left most of them in the ground to grow a little bit more.


First Son learned how to play Uno with his gram and papa this week.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Blast From the Past

Back in January we moved First Daughter to a booster chair, mostly because I had reached a breaking point with the high chair. These new (and by new I mean five years ago when we received the chair as a gift for First Son) plastic chairs with all the bells and whistles are very difficult to keep clean. Food gets stuck in all the little nooks and crannies. I just got tired of feeling like it was never really clean unless I went at it with a toothbrush - and who has time for that?

So I decided I wanted an old wooden high chair. (I would have been satisfied with a new one, but they are very expensive.) We haven't had time to look for one at garage sales, what with a baby on the way and a house to buy, but I figured I had time since Second Daughter wouldn't need one until she started to eat solid foods at six months.

I mentioned it to my mom and she convinced my dad to stop at a flea market / antique sale on the way home from visiting us in June. They drove away with four dining room chairs and an old wooden high chair (and a slightly frustrated Papa who was driving from Missouri to Illinois with a load of stuff he'd have to drive back to Kansas in a few weeks).

It's exactly what I wanted. We checked to make sure it hadn't been recalled and First Daughter claimed it immediately!

I'm very glad she liked it because I was beginning to feel the same frustration with the booster chair.

First Daughter and Her Papa

All Sweetness and Innocence

Friday, July 25, 2008

Family Photos

It took almost a week, but we finally have a picture of the whole family together. (You'd be surprised how hard it is to get three kids dressed, clean and awake all at the same time, especially when the youngest is a newborn.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sharing Sea Animals

First Son showed Second Daughter all his sea animals. It was so sweet of him to share, though I do think it was a little easier than sharing with First Daughter because Second Daughter doesn't try to grab everything and run away with it...yet.

I think this is the picture I'm going to tweak for our announcements. I have to warn you, though, if you read the blog you probably won't get an announcement. We're only going to send them to close family members and a few people who don't ever go online. It was almost $100 just for postage on First Daughter's announcements, and that's a hundred dollars we probably need for a tractor or something.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

We Bought a Farm

Not the farm, a farm. The older two kids went off on an adventure with Grammy. Second Daughter and her Gram joined us for a modest lunch outing followed by a contract signing for our farm.

I can't believe we signed a contract to buy a house with a four day old. Maybe the sleep deprivation impaired our reasoning.

If it all works out, we'll be closing around the end of August and will be the proud owners of a little house, almost 7.5 acres, half an out-building, a lagoon, some trees and (best of all) a creek! (Well, part of a creek.)

There are a lot of contingencies so we're trying not to get too excited yet. I have to admit, the thought of packing up and moving in the next month is a little scary, but it would be worth it in the long run.

Aftermath of a Bath

Second Daughter is not quite a fan of the bath.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Required Snuggling

Is It Always This Different?

A word of warning: This post is about labor. If you don't want to hear about it, stop reading now. As a courtesy, I did try to avoid anything too personal, but you never can tell what someone else might deem unnecessary information.

I was startled to discover that my second natural labor was completely and totally different than my first. Is that normal?

Side note: I was induced when First Son was born. Pitocin was not my friend. My current doctor is much more relaxed. He feels most babies would arrive within a few more days if everyone could be a little more patient. Of course, that's not always possible, but as long as baby sounded healthy and was moving around he was satisfied to wait and I was very happy to agree with him.

My second labor, with First Daughter, was absolutely by the book. I had strong contractions every 15 minutes for about 40 hours. I was able to go to church, talk to people, and generally go about life. It wasn't bad at all, except that I kept thinking "Any minute now I'll need to go to the hospital." There was a sudden jump from every 15 minutes to every 5 minutes with a marked increase in intensity, so we called Grammy and headed to the hospital. First Daughter was born about 45 minutes after they checked me in. All in all, the hard contractions lasted no more than a couple of hours. The contractions at the very end were long and very intense but I was able to breathe my way through them pretty steadily and they only lasted about 30 minutes before it was time to push.

Second Daughter's labor was so different I could hardly believe I was in labor. The contractions seemed to come out of nowhere and were incredibly intense right from the start. They weren't consistent, though. I'd have three about three minutes apart and then go ten minutes without any. I labored at home for about three hours before Kansas Dad suggested maybe we really should go. I think I was entering transition and he could tell it was the real thing. Of course, we hadn't even called Grammy yet, so we had to wait a while longer. A few minutes later, I sent Kansas Dad across the street to ask the neighbor to wait with the kids because I thought we needed to leave immediately. (Luckily, Grammy arrived as he was walking down the driveway.) I wanted to push as soon as they got me checked in, but we had to wait a while for the doctor on call to arrive. Second Daughter was born about 20 minutes after they checked me in.

She might have been born a day earlier (before midnight) if I'd arrived in time for them to call the doctor earlier. (The family medicine resident even called the OB resident over from the main hospital building in case he didn't make it in time.)

So, a question to my friends with more than one baby and all my doctor does it usually work? Does a woman usually have similar labor experiences with different kids? If we decide to have another baby (yes, a possibility, though we're trying to to make any decisions for a while yet), what should I expect?

I'll tell you one thing, the next time I have a few hours of contractions like I did this time, I'm calling Grammy and heading to the hospital. I'm not sure we could wait as long as we did this time.

For those of you wondering which labor I preferred, I have to say either one (non-induced). Labor isn't exactly fun in the sun, but the second one was very controlled and non-frightening and the third one was over almost before I believed it had started.

And, at the end, you have a tiny little baby to take home:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Second Daughter's Birthday!

Third baby arrived surprisingly quickly in the wee hours of the morning. Here are the details:

A girl!
12:07 am
8 pounds, 10 ounces (my smallest yet)
19 inches

I'll post later with more pictures and details, but wanted you all to know the news. I'm sure I'll be slow on the blog for a while as we all catch our breath a bit.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I Have a Badge and Everything

I was thrilled to be accepted as a reviewer for The Catholic Company. My first book is on the way so I don't have a review to post yet. I do, however, have a badge (now appearing at the bottom of my sidebar).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Momentous Day

No, baby hasn't arrived yet. In fact, I had a doctor's appointment and he said I'm not even close. Even if I was interested (I'm not), he wouldn't have scheduled an induction before his vacation. So now we wait and see.

For the momentous news - Kansas Dad and I are ready to make an offer on a house (and land). We have the contract and just need to read it and sign it, both on the schedule for tonight after Kansas Dad's class. We're offering a lot less than the asking price, so we may not hear anything at all though I'm expecting a counteroffer. Again, we wait and see. The land has lots of possibilities, but it's not absolutely perfect so we'll be okay if it doesn't work out.

I almost forgot! In other news, Kansas Dad has lost the cast! He's off crutches and just has a brace for his ankle. Hopefully he'll continue to heal well.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Another Due Date, Another Slowpoke

This is my third pregnancy and every time I've watched that due date come and go without a birth. I didn't really expect the third one to be any different, but I had hope. So life goes. Baby will come when it's time...Now I'm just hoping the "time" is before my doctor goes on vacation on Friday.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Oh Yeah, This Is Helping

What could be better than being nine months pregnant with a husband in a cast and on crutches?

If both kids get colds.

And then give them to Mom and Dad.

Oh yeah, we feel much more energized and able to handle the next few days now...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Baking, Yes. Cleaning, No.

Does baking count as nesting? Today I made bread (in the bread machine, but still) and chocolate-chip-cookie-dough-brownies and was severly tempted to bake some chocolate-chip-zucchini muffins as well (though controlled that urge). I did manage to keep the dishes done, but the laundry is in a state of disgrace (mostly clean, but at least four loads piled in the laundry basket right now mocking me as they wait and wait to be folded). Thinking about cleaning makes me tired.

By the way, this picture in no way does justice to how enormous the baby belly is. I'm a little frightened of it myself. (And it's not just all the baking. I haven't gained any weight in a week and a half but the stomach just seems to get bigger and bigger.)

Always Looking for a Challenge

First Son insisted on putting together this 100 piece double-sided puzzle one piece at a time, in order. I am continually astounded by stuff like this. He could describe exactly the piece he next needed.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A New Rival

One of Grammy's dear friends sweetly bought a new backpack for First Son (which he calls a "packpack"). She's a big Alabama fan and thought we needed some Crimson to go with our Illini and Michigan gear.

Please note, First Son dresses himself in the mornings. He added this hat to complete the ensemble before heading to the zoo.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Baby and More Baby

First Daughter has a lot of babies.

1. Baby brought by Grammy so First Son could play with one before First Daughter was born. First Son was interested for about thirty minutes. First Daughter has been fascinated since we can remember.
2. A baby purchased just for her last Christmas from Grammy and Paw Paw.
3, 4 and 5. Three babies that were mine when I was little that I recently pulled from storage.
6. A Cabbage Patch baby that was confiscated from Kansas Dad when he and his brother were caught in a contest to see how many times they could flip them before they hit the ceiling (so it's in near perfect condition).

First Daughter calls these babies "my baby, more baby, other baby, more baby, other baby, more baby" in no particular order. They all must sleep with her. They all must be pulled from the crib for her to play with during the day. She also sleeps with Elmo and two Hippos. She sleeps with Rory during her nap (when First Son won't notice). (We've ordered one for her so she can have her own at bedtime.)

On some nights, she insists on up to three blankets as well. Her crib becomes very crowded very quickly.

But at least she's sleeping.

On Planning Ahead

I am a planner. Did you know that about me? I don't just plan; I love to plan. I love to plan for contingencies; what my options might be in any situation. So while I am anxiously looking forward to meeting our newest little one face to face (instead of feet to stomach), I find myself a little frustrated at the end of a pregnancy. You see, I want to know exactly when the baby will be born. I want to plan ahead. Every time we talk about doing something tomorrow or the next day or the day after that, I think "What if the baby comes?" Then all my plans will be ruined.

Having been through this before, I know the elation of a birth will easily conquer any frustration from a change in plans...but that doesn't help me much in the anticipation of potentially marred plans.

I suppose I will survive. Logically, we're hoping baby will wait until the evening of the 16th as Kansas Dad should lose the cast (and crutches) that afternoon. I know his class is praying for that exact night so he'll have to cancel class.

Just between you and me, baby, you can come anytime now. Anytime. Let's finish this pregnancy and get on with the rest of your life!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Offer that Almost Was

Kansas Dad and I drove down to look at another house yesterday. It's still a little crazy to me that we're actually looking at houses, but this one was well within our price range and just the perfect distance from campus, so off we went.

It was very muddy. We didn't even drive all the way down the driveway because we were afraid the van would get stuck. We had the kids with us and they waded through the mud in their boots. I'm sure we made quite a scene: Kansas Dad on crutches, me nine months pregnant and the two little ones. The house needed quite a bit of work, but had its good features, too. Last night we debated and debated and decided to go to the bank this morning.

We are officially pre-approved for a mortgage loan. Craziness.

Kansas Dad called about making an offer on the house after lunch. (Yes, we were really willing to buy it, contingent on inspection and so forth.) Not too surprisingly (given the price), they had already signed a contract. So, we haven't made an offer.

We're scheduled to see another place tomorrow. Now that we're pre-approved, I told Kansas Dad I wanted to look at a variety of places so I could get a better idea of what's out there.

Most of our friends have already bought their first house (and second and even third!), so please feel free to email with advice.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Date Night

Tonight, Kansas Dad and I went out on a date. Grammy very generously handled dinner and bath and bed with First Son and First Daughter. We went out for a nice dinner and then saw an early movie. It was such a blessing to have some quiet time together.

By the way, I highly recommend the movie. I won't review it since you can probably find much better reviews out there. I will suggest you see this movie first (even though I don't particularly like it). A little knowledge of it will contribute greatly to the humor. (At one point, Kansas Dad and I were laughing out loud!)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Face Painting

It seems every time we get out the markers, First Daughter ends up looking something like this. I always end up wondering if those washable markers are as non-toxic as they claim...probably not. I've convinced myself, however, that the risk is small enough I shouldn't let it bother me too much. Most of the time, I'm convinced.

You can read about some eco-friendly art options here.

The Harvest from Two Days

And there's a lot more coming (not to mention the five cups we've already shredded and stored in the freezer).

Squash for breakfast, squash for lunch, squash for dinner...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Smile Guys!

And this is what I get.

Don't Get Tested

The Last Well Person: How to Stay Well Despite the Health-Care System by Nortin Hadler

Kansas Dad found this book first and encouraged me to read it before we had to send it back through interlibrary loan. I recommend it for everyone and would be very interested to know what our friends who have medical degrees would say in response.

Dr. Hadler puts forth convincing arguments that much of the testing (and even interventions) done by doctors in America today is unnecessary because it doesn't really help people live longer or better lives. (He stresses his points do not apply if you are already sick: previous heart attack, etc.) The most important point he makes (I think) is that the testing itself causes repercussions - we feel sicker, we feel more vulnerable, we spend too much time thinking about how we feel instead of living. These repercussions negatively impact our lives to a much greater extent than any positives from the tests themselves.

I don't have the energy to adequately summarize his arguments or give good examples (a hazard of nearly the 39th week of pregnancy), but we have opted out of all the prenatal testing for many of the reasons he explains. Many prenatal tests are for conditions that only have a "cure" in abortion. Some can be dangerous to the baby, increasing the rate of miscarriage. There are also a lot of unknowns in the prenatal testing; many times they show only an increased risk without being able to definitely say whether the child actually has a condition. I know there are people who like to be prepared for something like Downs Syndrome, but I prefer to consider this child perfectly healthy and we'll deal with anything like that after the birth. I told my doctor I wanted to be tested only if it would make a difference in who we'd have present at the birth (like a special doctor for the baby) or for things like gestational diabetes that would require special monitoring during the pregnancy. It makes for a much less stressful pregnancy for me.

I was also interested in his thoughts on marketing and advertising for pharmaceuticals and medical testing. All advertising's purpose is to convince us we need something we don't need and I firmly believe medical advertising is no different. He also pointed out the relationships between doctors making recommendations for testing and prescriptions and the companies that own the equipment or medications. It seems like there should be rules against that sort of thing.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Enjoying the Fruits of Her Labor

In his younger days, Kansas Dad used to fight his brother for the rights to lick the pan whenever chocolate unbake cookies were on the menu. Now that he's older and more mature, he willingly and lovingly shared with his, we added at least a cookie's worth back to the pan for her.

First Son wasn't interested in any. He was too busy putting together a puzzle. This should not surprise anyone who regularly reads the blog.

Happy Fourth of July!

Making Cookies

First Son isn't very interested in baking, though he does occasionally like to stir things. First Daughter, though, seems to be on her way to becoming quite the baker.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Swapping Swords

My parents had to leave right after Kansas Dad got home from the doctor's office. They're both planning to come back (for varying lengths of time) when baby arrives, so we'll see them again soon. First Son insisted on a sword fight with his Papa before they headed out.

The Crutches Remain

Kansas Dad came home from his doctor's appointment with a real cast today, dashing my hopes for a miraculous recovery. The doctor and nurses were very impressed with his injury. Apparently, most people would have ended up with something broken. I'm not sure that would have been worse. He's got the cast for two weeks, then they'll put him in a brace or something so he can start moving it a bit. It'll be six to eight weeks before he's back to normal, hopefully without physical therapy since we're supposed to change insurance companies before then. I'm sure they wouldn't want to cover a pre-existing condition.

For those doing the math, his cast is supposed to come off two days after the baby is due. I guess I hope baby holds off a while, though I admit it's hard to be patient once I hit the end of a pregnancy. I'm ready to meet baby in person (rather than just baby's kicks)!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Quiet Time and Bed Time

First Son loved having my parents here. He especially loved getting extra attention from Papa. Papa did all his quiet times with him, so they did a lot of puzzles and reading (and puzzle books, which are both!). Here's a picture of them setting up the calendar for July. (We're working on First Son's concepts of time.)

For the first time tonight, First Daughter let Gram read to her and rock her before bed (even putting her in the crib!). It was a nice break for me since and I think Gram enjoyed it, too.

Garden Pictures

This is our enormous tomato plant which has yet to make a single tomato fruit. I think all the others have fruit, some we've even picked, but not this one, even though it's the very biggest! I'm hoping the bees will help with pollination now the sunflowers are beginning to bloom.